In a recent Mile High Ministries staff meeting we went through a liturgy that was entirely focused on where we grew up. We took a moment to recognize what sustained us as kids that was unique to the soil of our homeland. I have to admit that I struggled with this liturgy. After our meeting I told Father Scott that my struggle was born out of the fact that I had now officially lived in Denver for as long as anywhere else. This doesn’t seem significant, until you realize that I have only lived in Denver for 5 years. Out of my nearly 29 years of life, I had never lived in one community for more than 5 years. This nomadic upbringing made it difficult to really engage in this liturgy about home.
The liturgy did, however open my eyes to something that I hadn’t previously thought much about. At Mile High Ministries we talk about the need for leadership to be indigenous to the community being led. Reflecting on my own childhood led me to see that in some ways I am indigenous to our community of kids at Joshua Station. My understanding of home being deeper than geography is something most of our kids would immediately identify with. While many of them have escaped the kind of homelessness that involves sleeping under the overpass, they have all experienced inconsistency in having a place to call “home”. Whether it’s foster care, bouncing from relative to relative or living in an emergency shelter, they would probably find the idea of “home” as confusing as I do.
I suppose this might explain why I often feel like I get these kids more than I even like to admit. Most people would probably assume (as I did when I first started working here) that I am here to lead these kids because I feel compassion and want to do something to help. As it turns out, I don’t feel like I am dropping a lifeline into a dark place and curing the kids I pull out of its snares. I am here, with these kids, because I feel a sort of kinship with them. While many details of our stories would certainly be different, God has drawn me into this place, that is not so different from what I had already known. Maybe I am here so that I might be an affirming presence among kids that need it just as badly as I did.
This post is the most recent 8th & Wyandot update. To find it, as well as the entire 8th & Wyandot archive, Click Here.