Please Know...

As I come to know the men and women of Kensington, specifically the homeless and addicted, their stories become increasingly sensitive and personal. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist in regard to these fine people. Names are rarely their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Help Me to be Ordinary.

Dear LORD Dream Giver,

In this outreach to the fine people of the streets of Kensington and with the emphasis that You have placed on my heart for the men and women of Emerald City and the Frankford Avenue bridge communities, PLEASE help me to be "Ordinary" and take the way of Faith.

In Jesus' Holy Name I Pray.  Amen.

Ordinary walked. And walked. Every time he got hungry, he opened his suitcase and ate. And every time he got thirsty, he opened it and drank. And every time he thought about his Dream, he decided to keep going. Time passed. Ordinary’s skin burned. His feet blistered. His bones ached. One day blurred into another. And then one day he got hungry and opened his case … and didn’t find anything to eat.

That was the day Ordinary began to worry. He called out to the Dream Giver for food. But he got no answer. Two days later, he ran out of water. He called out to the Dream Giver again. And again, he heard nothing. Fortunately, that was also the day Ordinary managed to find a trickle of water coming from a rock. At least now he was only starving. But if he was smart enough to find water, maybe he could find food, too.

Sure enough, it wasn’t too long before he spotted a strange bush with some strange desert fruit hanging from its branches. Ordinary tried one. It didn’t taste sweet, but it didn’t taste sour, either. So he ate his fill.

Still, the Dream Giver was nowhere in sight. More time passed. The longest hours and days Ordinary could ever remember passed. Desperately, he began to look for a way out. One day he followed what looked like a shortcut over a ridge. But it led to a canyon that ended in quicksand. He tried traveling at night when it was cooler. But he kept losing the trail. Every delay made him more determined to find a quicker route. But every attempt only led to another dead end. Again and again, Ordinary lost his way. Again and again, he cried out for the Dream Giver to show him the way. But no answer came. Why had he ever trusted the Dream Giver to guide him in the first place?

The day came when Ordinary finally gave up. He sat on his suitcase and refused to move until the Dream Giver showed up with a plan. But the Dream Giver didn’t show up that day. Or the next. Ordinary had never felt so lost and alone. He became angry. He got angrier and angrier.

And then a hard, hot wind began to blow. The wind blew all that day and all the next. Sand blew into Ordinary’s eyes. It blew into his teeth and ears. When the wind finally stopped, Ordinary stood to his feet. But as far as he could see, there was only sand. The path to his Dream had disappeared completely. Obviously, his entire trip through the WasteLand had been a Waste!

Hot tears coursed down his dirty cheeks. “You’re not a Dream Giver,” he shouted at the sky. “You’re a Dream Taker! I trusted you. You promised to be with me and help me. And you didn’t!” Then Ordinary stumbled in despair across the sandy Waste, dragging his empty suitcase behind him. His Dream was dead, and now he wanted to die, too.

When he came to a scraggly tree, he lay down in its scraggly patch of shade and closed his eyes. That night, he slept the sleep of a dreamless Dreamer.

The next morning, Ordinary heard something. Startled, he peered up to see a shimmering Somebody sitting in the branches of the tree. “Who are you?” he asked, as she climbed down to the ground. “My name is Faith,” she said. “The Dream Giver sent me to help you.” “But it’s too late!” cried Ordinary. “My Dream is dead. When I needed the Dream Giver most, he was nowhere in sight.” “What do you need that you haven’t received?” asked Faith. “Well, if it weren’t for the few springs of water I found,” answered Ordinary, “I’d be dead of thirst by now!” “Yes? And?” she asked. “If it weren’t for the fruit I found, I’d be a walking skeleton!” he replied. “Wait! I am a walking skeleton! I could die of starvation any minute!” “Oh, my!” Faith murmured. “And?” “Well,” huffed Ordinary, “a little guidance would have been nice.

Ever since I came here, it’s been one delay after another. I’ve been wandering in circles since I don’t know when. What a Waste!” “I see,” said Faith, nodding. “So what will you do now?” “Just tell me how to get back to Familiar,” he said. “I’m sorry,” she said. “But I can’t help you with that.” “That figures,” said Ordinary. “The Dream Giver sends me a helper who can’t even help!” “You might be right,” said Faith. “But that’s for you to decide.”

Then Faith walked away in a direction Ordinary felt sure was wrong. It wasn’t long before Ordinary began to have second thoughts. What if he was wrong? He wished he hadn’t been so rude to the Somebody named Faith. And he began to miss her. He realized that while they were talking, he had felt hope for the first time in a very long time. Ordinary jumped to his feet and scanned the horizon. “Faith!” he cried. But she was nowhere in sight. “Faith!” he cried again. But there was no reply.

Then Ordinary had an idea. He climbed the scraggly tree to the top. From there, he could see Faith in the distance. As quickly as he could, he climbed down and set off in the same direction. Later that same day, Ordinary was eating some fruit beside a trickle of water, when he saw his journey through the WasteLand in a whole new way. Food enough for the day. Water, when he needed to drink. A path to follow that led to Faith. How could he have been so blind? Even when the Dream Giver had been nowhere in sight, he had always been near.

That was the day, too, that Ordinary looked at his empty suitcase and decided it was time to leave it behind. He made a makeshift knapsack, took his Dream Journal and feather and ink, and walked on. After that, whenever Ordinary came to a scraggly tree, he climbed it to look for Faith. And when he had her in sight, he marked the direction and started walking again.

One day, Ordinary met some Dreamers returning to Familiar. They told him a sad story. They had crossed the WasteLand and nearly reached the Land of Promise. But then they encountered Giants so large and overwhelming that the Dreamers felt as small as grasshoppers. And the Dream Giver had been nowhere in sight.

The Nobodies sounded convincing. And he recognized their weariness. But as they continued talking, he saw something more: They had stopped trusting the Dream Giver, and now they were traveling in the opposite direction from Faith. 

When the Nobodies strongly warned him that what lay ahead was too hard, he saw something else. He had changed. His trip through the WasteLand had not been a Waste. Now he was prepared for what lay ahead, no matter how hard. “Travel safely,” he told the returning Nobodies. “But I’ll be going on.” 

As Ordinary pressed on through the desert, his Dream beat brightly in his chest again. And the more the sun blazed, the more Ordinary believed that he could find the Land of Promise, no matter how long it took—if only he took the way of Faith.[1]




[1] Wilkinson, Bruce. The Dream Giver: Following Your God-Given Destiny (pp. 31-33). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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