Oh, the blank page of a new post. Sometimes, I can't get my thoughts out fast enough and others, well, it's been three weeks since my last post so that pretty much explains it.
The kids went back to school today and the house is quiet. No t.v., video games, or the constant bing of incoming text messages and I'm loving the quiet. We had a great break. Quiet and relaxing with just enough to do to keep things interesting.
We celebrated two birthdays over the break, mine, and Olivia's. I gotta say, it's pretty fun turning 41 and all but turning 12 is a whole other category of party.
For mine, Trey and I had a fun date night out. One of Dallas' most beautiful restaurants, fabulous dinner, and a fun surprise mixed in.
About halfway through our main course, a handsome young waiter comes up to our table. "Mr. Trey"? Trey broke out into a huge smile, "Roger"! Roger, now grown, was in the first class of kids coming through Mercy Street. He was tough and constantly drawn to the life of a thug that pulls so hard on kids in West Dallas. He struggled, his mentor struggled, and Trey struggled to help him see his profound potential. His mentor was faithful - even when he was being pushed away - but stuck with him through graduation. Roger, now, confident, smiling, and working the room, had grown into a responsible, confident, young man with a promising job and the admiration of his boss and co-workers. After we caught up for a second, the General Manager of the restaurant came up to our table and asked how we knew Roger. He said he was one of his best employees and how thankful he was to have him. That he'd been in the business for a long time and saw a bright future for Roger.
This year will mark Mercy Street's tenth year. Our family has lived in the neighborhood for nine. We're thankful that the scenes above are happening more and more. Lives are being changed, communities are being changed, and we are being shaped, humbled, woven into the fabric of this beautiful, hard, beloved place. A friend, Shannon, asked me the other day what I'd learned after so long in the inner-city. I told her I've learned that I don't know much. Life is a messy business and the pain and joys all come together to form some sort of mixed up concoction. She, so wise and funny, said she sometimes calls it holy shit. We bring in our junk, there's junk already here, and it can be a hot mess. The Lord, however, in grace upon grace that we can't understand, makes it a holy business - pointing us to Him again and again knowing that these are His people, His community, His ministry, and we are all His workmanship and we are not finished yet.
Thank you for all of you who have followed this blog and the story of our family and our wild ride. 2013 already feels like a big one and I hope you'll stick around.