Caring For People

nightlight

It seems these days I don’t have a lot of heart to write about online business things and am wondering if my learning my way around the Internet is more so that I can share important things – like taking care of people.

The photo above was taken at a place called nightlight, where I volunteer. Nightlight is a cafe-type space on a downtown main street, open as an adult drop-in where we serve free coffee and snacks, play card games, do puzzles, and generally treat people with the care and dignity that they deserve, but don’t always get. Some of our people are homeless, some are simply lonely, all are welcome.

The man on the left in the photo was an always cheerful homeless guest who passed away this past winter – not alone, because we walked alongside him. The man on the right is Jeff, our fearless leader, who together with many volunteers, seeks to make our world a better place.

This month, Jeff asked me to  write a little update for the nightlight newsletter and I thought if I shared part of it with you, it would be a way to show you a little bit of what captures my heart. The text is below, along with some of my comments in brackets:

“This month at Cambridge nightlight we’ve been encouraged by many little signs of growth and change, such as:

  • A guest asking for prayer to help deal with his relationship issues (many of our guests have never been taught mature ways of acting)
  • Guests honoring the nightlight space and taking any of their disagreements outside
  • Guests learning forgiveness and proper reactions to perceived slights against them
  • Frequent mention of how safe our space feels, which has led to a willingness to open up to the volunteers about their struggles and realize we care about them (often family life growing up was very difficult)
  • Guests caring for the needs of one another, even taking coffee and snacks out to the homeless living near our doors (there was a time when I was intimidated by the homeless, before I got to know how special each of them is and how much they have had to overcome)

Cambridge nightlight has many causes for celebration these days – from over 50 cans of coffee being donated by one of our church partners, to the steps toward a more stable life that many of our guests have taken, to the regular birthday times with a large cake faithfully donated every month by one of our dear neighbours. Our guests often take ownership of nightlight, helping with whatever they can, whether it be moving the sign outside or gathering cups to be washed.

Many of our volunteers are now interacting with our guests outside of nightlight and their names are being written on our hearts. It’s beginning to look a lot like family – sometimes a messy, loud, chaotic one, but family none the less.”

Note from me: Yes, caring for people can be messy and sometimes overwhelming and discouraging, but also rewarding beyond measure. Have you stepped out of your comfort zone to care about others? Even a smile as you pass a stranger can make a big difference to someone.

Have a wonderful day,
Carol

 
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Lessons From the Birds

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