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Joy in the Morning

Verses from Isaiah 58 and 61 have been motivational for many of us who are engaged in relationship resourcing in Orange Mound. Examples that confirm and convict us include:

“Loose the chains of injustice, spend yourselves for the hungry; satisfy the needs of the oppressed; bind up the broken hearted; bestow the oil of gladness instead of mourning; provide for those who grieve”, and there are many more.

None of us can perfectly fulfill these directives, but there is a slow and welcoming determination in the right direction among us all.

Last week was engulfed by sadness for our little community of Orange Mound women.  Roz’s brother died suddenly in a rehabilitation facility. Though she has been Robert’s caregiver for his entire life, Roz was not with him when he passed. The circumstances of his death are filled with questions and no answers.

Danyelle’s daughter was shot and wounded by someone she had trusted. The perpetrator has so far escaped arrest while Danyelle’s daughter has been cared for by several physicians contemplating what the best options are for her care. 

Bretta’s beloved pet and companion dog, Walter, was stolen by a neighbor, who refuses to admit her theft and has threatened Bretta.

Our newest and youngest employee has discovered she must move with her mother and several siblings back to the city she fled.  

Deborah’s pipes burst 2 weeks ago, and she has had no running water while patiently waiting for the plumber who has postponed several times.

Patricia’s boyfriend, Chris, has discovered terminal cancer and is too weak for a procedure that might give him more time with her and their daughter.

With each of our ladies, we have prayed, advised, resourced, and wept.  We have offered a pause in the work schedule for each as they recalibrate and tend to their sorrows. 

Last Friday would have been the logical day for them to skip and begin their rest, but because it was Debbie’s birthday, all of them showed up. We are devoted to Debbie, and consider her our mom, the glue for our employees, and our tea expert.   In surprising her, all participated in the birthday song, a little dancing, lots of pictures, singing, gifts, laughter, and cake.

These dear women of immeasurable love and strength are always quick to lift another up amid a spiral downward in their own personal struggles.  Each pinned dollars to her “corsage” and each brought a card of appreciation and celebration.   Like children, we watched her open her gifts, and blushed as she raved over each of us.

These courageous women can trace the rainbow through the rain.   The resilience of each of our ladies in their days of grief bears witness to what God is doing through the many volunteers we call Sisters. Sisters have fashioned crowns of beauty instead of ashes for them and anointed them with the oil of gladness instead of mourning. (Isaiah 61:3).

All with fresh wounds are grieving but with hope anchored in the promises of God’s grace and intimate presence in times of stress and sorrow. In the meantime, a birthday bash is in order and selfless generosity is second nature to them all.

God says over 400 times in the Bible for Believers to go to the poor.  One mistakenly might think that resourcing and rectifying debts and injustices is the reason for the call and our Lord’s intention. I am convinced that it is that and so much more. It is for us, the resourced, to see their capacity to wait and trust and for us to learn from them how to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. 

Weeping lasts for a season, but joy comes in the morning, always at the House in Orange Mound.