The coffee shop, Joe’s Addiction is one the hardest places to describe. It is a place where you can get a bottomless Joe, an endless cup of tea and/or coffee, and spend the day. For $2.00, one can get air conditioning, conversation and maybe a game of SkipBo. Of course, there is the free coffee, for as long as it lasts, one pot per shift and if you’re hungry someone will make you a sandwich, if you sweep up or do the dishes. If you need a new shirt or pair of pants, around the corner, you can find it at the free store. Know that you are welcome. It doesn’t matter if you are homeless living in a tent, just out of prison, waiting until Monday when the power should be restored to your home, a gang member trying to figure out how to get out of the gang alive, a vet with PTSD, a person burned out on too many drugs or a high school student doing tornado relief work. But know we hold everyone to the same code of conduct: “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” So if you’re hot and frustrated because you’ve been outside all day and you get upset with someone, know that you’ll be asked to take a walk and come back when you “cooled off.”
If you choose, we hold a service on Sunday at 10:30, where we worship King Jesus, thanking him for what he has freed us from. There is a time for the community to share our prouds and sorrys: the ways we see ourselves or others following Jesus or a time to ask the community for forgiveness. We then learn more about who and what our community is supposed to look like.
It is not an easy place to work. People are hungry: for food and relationship. They are thirsty for acceptance no matter how they smell or if they are in touch with reality. We as a family are spending between 15-20 hours a week in this community. We have only been here about three weeks and we have seen so many things that shows growth, a older man who used to known as a grumpy old man who was always angry, ask forgiveness during prouds and sorrys. He is working on relationships: sharing his feelings and showing compassion to others. Homeless people sharing a meal with those who have less than them. There have also been many hardships: emotional breakdowns, suicide attempts, battles lost with drugs and alcohol. Each victory celebrated and each hardship met with grace. Following the code of conduct: Love your neighbor as yourself and do to others as you would have them do to you.
I am learning so much from this community and feel very blessed to be a part of it.