We are all impacted by the changing seasons in New England, and we make adjustments such as putting the snow tires on and taking them off, changing the screens and storm windows, going between the lawnmower and snow blower, and swapping the clothes in our closets. While we feel the changes, the impact on those who spend the majority of their time out in the elements is that much greater. I thought that the summer would bring welcome relief to the homeless, and in many ways it does. However, it also brings with it a new set of challenges. If you’re sleeping on the 3rd floor of the shelter, the fans are probably not keeping up with the rising heat and humidity which makes sleep a challenge. So maybe you take a nap in the courtyard of Preble Street Resource Center or the yard of the Oxford Street Shelter. As the sun moves across the sky your shady spot is now in the direct sun and you wake up with severe burns. Unfortunately, going to Walmart for aloe and some loose-fitting scrubs probably isn’t an option.
Sometimes the pastors of Grace-Street Ministry are able to offer the aloe and scrubs, and sometimes we’re able to just lend a compassionate ear and shoulder that acknowledges their humanity and reminds someone that they are a beloved child of the Holy One. Whatever the season, the longing to know we’re loved does not change, especially if one is a member of the marginalized of society.
Thank you for your prayers and support for this amazingly complex and dynamic community. May God’s peace and blessings be with you.