A few weeks ago I blogged about a new friendship that I had created with a guy at the local homeless shelter named Luis. (Read that story here)
The night I met Luis I asked him if I could call him two days later to check in. I was hoping that he would have an update on his job and a little better idea of what his next steps would be. On cue, I called Luis on Thursday to check in, but no one answered. The voicemail stated a different name than he had told me, so I have no idea if I was calling the correct number or not. I left a message but did not hear back. I then called the next morning and once again got no answer.
At first I wasn’t sure what to think. To be honest I had a range of emotions.
Initially, I was disappointed because I wanted to know if he had a better end of the week and kept his job. I also had really enjoyed our conversation and genuinely wanted to get to know him better. I was disappointed because I had no idea how to continue the friendship that had been started.
I also felt a little sense of frustration. Maybe I was duped and given a wrong phone number just to be left alone? Maybe my expectations were far different from his.
I also felt robbed of an opportunity. I truly want to love God and love people. I want to learn how to love the homeless in a way that values them as people and not as objects of our benevolence. I want to be stretched and challenged to see beyond myself, and I felt as if this would be a good opportunity to learn and experience that.
I also felt a little confused. What should I do now? What if I really did have the wrong number and he was wondering why I never called? I didn’t want to be a flash in the pan friend, someone there to serve a religious duty but happy to not have to get “involved” with his problems. I want to be different and not send the wrong message.
I have ultimately settled on the fact that this just wasn’t what God had in store for either Luis or myself. I am not sure why it didn’t work out, but I am OK with that. I have prayed for Luis a few times over the past few days and hope that he is doing well and finding some encouragement where he needs it. God knows Luis’s situation and I know that He is caring for Luis’s needs.
As I continue to become more and more involved with the shelter, I hope that another opportunity to speak with Luis will come. If not, that is OK too. I continue to remind myself that this is not about me or my needs. It is about making myself available for God to use me. I will continue to be faithful to trying to start relationships and getting to know my neighbors even when it doesn’t work out as I expected. Failed expectations are a part of learning and growing…a part of relationships. I have a feeling this is just the first of many more to come.Image courtesy of Michael Hilton / Flickr.com