I’ll continue my story from last week when I asked some homeless people to not spend the night on the Soup Kitchen benches and then felt guilty. A couple of days later I worked with some volunteers to clean the parking lot and power-wash the sidewalk and entrance of the Soup Kitchen. Then we talked to some of the people hanging out there about helping us keep it clean. They were willing and one even painted our weather-beaten bicycle rack.
By talking to them, I learned they would welcome something to do. They could pass on our message about the importance of sanitation, since we do prepare their meals. Are all of our problems solved? No. But letting them know how they can help us opened a door of communication. Maybe they will be more comfortable in telling us what their needs are.
Nothing is solved when communication is replaced with assumptions. The only way to know someone’s needs is to ask questions. I allowed fear of saying the wrong thing prevent me from voicing my concerns and understanding theirs. Fear is not from God. It is a product of trying to do God’s work our own way.
How do you deal with talking to someone you are uncomfortable with?