The hurting, the lost–that’s my ‘district’

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There he sat with those blue, blue eyes. From the day he came to us, everyone had said it. “He looks just like his dad.” Now, nearly 27 years later, he was grown. Strong. Handsome. Muscular. Fit. A fine-looking man with a story.

With a His-story.

Redemption in blue jeans. That’s just what it was, for our runner had been fleet of foot, first on the cross-country course, and then as a prodigal. He’d run fast, run far, run hard, run long. But a father and a Father had ushered him back, scooped him up. Loved him hard. And now, the ship, it keeps turning. Bless the Lord.

Anyway. In this in-between season of his life, this transition point, the winding path between his “then” and his “next,” he was working. Hard. Working well. Working long. Paying college bills and finding great favor. Gearing up, now, to find his divine calling.

A year ago, he’d done what his next-down, spunky brother had done; he’d joined Fight Club, and he’d finished it well. So proud. So happy.

This summer, he’d been transferred. Promoted. Bumped up. He’d advanced in the factory he was at. A blessing!

It had been an education (and a good one, I’ll add) to work with folks from family heritage. With the Amish.

It was after his move at work that he’d mentioned it. “The maintenance guy there, he’s all tatted up, and he’s got gauges in his ears.” I listened. “But Mom, he looked familiar to me. And then I figured it out. He’s a Fight Club man!”

Ahhh. My heart, how it softened upon hearing him speak. My son with his colorful past.

Now, back to the nugget he gave me in my kitchen on a bright Sunday noon at the counter.

“You know that maintenance man at work?” I nodded. “Well, one day at lunch break, one of the Amish guys was talkin’ about him. And he said to the others, ‘Do you think he’s in our district?’ And they all laughed.” In my mind’s eye, I could see it. A circle of bearded men at a table. Barn door pants, handmade clothing. They’re chuckling, heads shaking. Small district.

And then, there it came.

“I should’ve said, ‘Well, he’s in my district.’”

I stopped, hands still, and I looked at my son. The one who had once sported pierced ears, bleeding heart. Who’d carried such heartache, such wounding.

“He’s in my ‘district.’”

Today, I’m thinkin’ on the ones that He’s given me. The  employee at Subway on Saturday night who’s going to school to be a teacher. The barista who shed the warm light of cheer as she handed macchiato out the window.

The just-abandoned, sick woman I’d pressed in my arms as a train thundered by, and I’d loved her.

The young Amish girl I’d found, studyin’ His Word. The single woman whose eyes had leaked pain, tears dripping.

The woman hobbling with a walker and a grocery bag swingin’. A young, stylin’ fellow named Hector. A muscular, tatted-up father of a girlie whose wife, she was carryin’ another.

So many! So many discouraged, needin’ lovin’.

An unlikely congregation. A hodgepodge, a brotherhood. So wildly different in every way. But all of them…

All of them, in my district. All of them, in His.

And all of us, “ministers of reconciliation.”

I challenge you today to open your eyes to the one who is right there before you. Really see them! The cashier where you shop. The tired mom in the aisle. The old one who’s shufflin’ along.

If they’re in His ‘district,’ my friend, then they are in yours, and His love has run red for us all. We all matter. 

There’s a Father, you see, who’s longin’ to do what He did for my son. To scoop them right up and to love ’em. To bring ’em back, to guide runnin’ steps, and He’s countin’ on us to help usher.

Receive them, my friend, each one, and love them.

For Him and for all whom He loves in my ‘district,’

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