I’ve been coming to People Loving Nashville for three years. If you had asked me a year and a half ago to tell my story, I would have probably told you that I serve every Monday because I have a heart for “the least of these.” In the past year and a half, I have learned that I am the least of these. The people we serve downtown are sinners; so am I. The people we serve downtown are hungry; so I am. The people we serve are needy; so am I. They are longing for connection, and come often not for the food, but for the company; so do I. Our friends downtown are vulnerable and hurting; so am I.
The first time I came to PLN, I was tricked in to coming. I did not want to be there. It was January of 2010 and there was snow on the ground. I spent the ENTIRE night complaining about how cold I was. Out loud. To anyone who would listen. Finally, my friend who brought me leaned over to me and said,”You know, in about 20 minutes, you’ll be in a car with a heater, driving to your heated home, where you’ll sleep in a comfortable bed. These people you keep complaining to are going to sleep outside in the snow tonight.” He didn’t say it to be mean. He said it to open my eyes.
Monday nights level the playing field for me. If I’m feeling sad or lonely, I find community. If I’m feeling pain, I find comfort. If I’m feeling a little too good about myself, I am humbled. I don’t leave Monday nights feeling a sense of accomplishment for the hours I put in. I leave feeling just a little more human… a little more connected to the man who will sleep on the street tonight while I’m in my warm bed and a little more connected to the new volunteer who bravely showed up having no idea what was ahead of them and a little more connected to the most consistent community I’ve had since high school.
Some Mondays I go because I want to serve. Some Mondays I go because I need to be served. Most Mondays it’s a little of both. We are far from a group of people who have it all together serving a group of people who don’t. (I wouldn’t be allowed through the door if the requirement were to have it all together.) We are a group of needy people who cook dinner for another group of needy people. Then we hang out with them while they eat it. And for three years, it’s been my favorite meal of the week.Read More