On Sunday after we were able to be with the nine men of the Lwanga house to shop for the clothes they lost in the fire, several of them wanted me to make sure I told you thank you. In addition to the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi we are their family. For some we are all the family they have.
As we were checking out, in almost every instance they said, thank you. But not in a simple way. They each used the word, “please.”
“Please tell the Church thank you.”
“Please bless the Church for doing this. Thank you.”
“Please let them know thank you from me.”
Please. It is such a sincere word flowing from sincere hearts overwhelmed with gratitude.
After they said this to me, I responded, “I will. Let these clothes remind you that your hurt is not lost on our God. And as His family you are not lost on us. If we all belong to God then we all belong to one another.”
I talked to Sister Agnes yesterday. She told me about all the work they have to do to get the business-side of the home back in order. She visited one of the Day Centers, a place where the residents go to develop life-skills, to request copies of files. When the Executive Director asked why Sister reminded her of the fire. Jokingly the Executive Director said, “What fire? This week they’ve come struttin’ in with their new clothes and shoes with big smiles on their faces like nothing ever happened. You got them new clothes so quickly it’s almost like they haven’t lost a thing.” After the phone call Sister Agnes sent me this text:
“I am so very happy and very grateful to the whole church for coming forth with first class speedy support.”
Our quick response to this tragedy to take them shopping was about more than replacing lost clothes. It was about pushing back against the trauma ( called shock trauma) caused by the fire before it could settle in to on-going trauma and anxiety resulting in a form of cumulative trauma that can do greater damage to their brains. In other words, our quick and swift response to be present with them and shop for new clothes was more than a shopping-event or service-event. It was a healing-event. And that’s exactly why we needed to respond with urgency. We needed to charge the darkness and rush into the suffering so the reign of God and healing presence of Christ could break into their lives in a tangible way. He was already at work in it. We just needed to join him there.
WCC fam, thank you. Thank you for being a light in dark places as you tangibly bear witness to the presence of Christ in the broken places of hurting lives. And please, praise and thank God for his provision.
We have a long road to travel together but I trust our Lord will lead the way.
Go into the rest of your week knowing that where Christ is present healing is possible. You’ve got this, and God’s got you.