By: Margie Quinn
March 25, 2015
Photo: Margie Quinn at the 2014 Christian Leadership Forum.
I feel like God is calling me to pay attention to the voices of people whose voices often get lost in the mix…
Last week a kid died in the alley by my office. A homeless kid. He overdosed and fell into a deep forever-sleep by the mail truck next to my office.
His name was Dylan. The street kids gathered around a lamppost by the alley to grieve his loss. They laid flowers down and wailed his name. They searched into the eyes of each person that passed. One-by-one they waited for someone to say, “I’m sorry,” or “I see you,” or “We must do better.”
I went home and cried and cried that night. I lit three candles on my porch and said a few words. What else could I do but watch the light flicker? What more could I say of a forgotten kid in an abandoned alley, aside from his name, over and over again? I breathed and whispered and eventually sung, Rest in peace Dylan. Rest in peace Dylan. Rest, Dylan.
How do you make the world stop, turn, look and notice? How many flowers must you bring to a lamppost before people ask, “Who?” and “Why?” and “How can this be?”
Since I moved to Seattle to work for Facing Homelessness, I feel like God is calling me to pay attention to the voices of people whose voices often get lost in the mix—homeless, LGBTQ, elderly voices. My job now feels like this odd sensation of falling without knowing what’s below me but trusting that God’s got me. There is no doubt that God (beauty, connection, community, compassion, holiness, divinity) happens here among the “least of these” but I didn’t realize the extent or power of God until I started working within a community of marginalized people.
Someone asked me recently what I thought ministry meant. Lately ministry feels like listening to others and holding their pain with them. And lately church feels like lighting a few candles and the whisper of a name. And lately prayer feels like asking “why?” over and over again until sleep takes over. And lately my calling feels more like a falling—deeper into a world in which I didn’t think God resided but does.
I used to have so many words for what I do. A run-on sentence job-description about street ministry and homeless advocacy and so on. Lately I don’t have a lot of words. I sit. I listen. I hear about pain. I share it with others. Lately I don’t know much, other than that God’s kingdom resides here. God’s beauty is being revealed to me here. And God has been waiting for me here all along.