These letters to you are always a fine balance. I want to convey the sheer overwhelming joy of this work, so you can feel it too. But I also want to tell you the truth, and the truth is, that sometimes joy is hard to find.
Especially during the winter.
Maybe it's the winter blues that come with less than 10 hours of sunlight. Or that here in Raleigh, wintertime mostly is our wet season, so it's the near endless rain. Or maybe it's just watching the fatigue on the faces of our friends who live outside - fatigue from dealing with life in the cold.
Whatever it is, life is harder for us in the wintertime.
So when we decided to close the hospitality house for two weeks while we moved from one location to another, I have to admit, part of me was relieved. I mean, I knew it would present a hardship for our friends who depend on us for a place to be, but the idea of having two weeks to just focus on tasks, to have a clear to-do list that won't get interrupted because someone wants to talk to you - that sounded a bit like heaven.
So we took the two weeks to unpack, and the new location is great. It is bright and colorful, and has lots of natural light. The floor space is plentiful, and outside the doors is a playground just waiting for children to play on it.
And during the two weeks, it was a breath of fresh air to know that today, my to-do list was clear. I woke up knowing exactly what the day would bring, and went to bed each night with a sense of accomplishment. It was amazing.
It also made me miserable.
Because once you know something, you can't unknow it. And I knew that while we were comfortable and being productive, I also knew that now Danny didn't have a place to be. I knew Karen had no one to listen to her, and I knew that when it was bitterly cold for three days in a row last week that all my friends would really rather be with us and their friends than scattered in the various places they had to hide that day.
So when we re-opened last Thursday, it was a breath of fresh air. People began to pour in. Hugs were everywhere. People marveled at the new space. And then the honeymoon was over, and people began to bring us their problems again, and interrupt us, and our productivity crawled to a halt.
But I have come to see that that is okay. In fact, it's good. Because more than ever, I can see that the interruptions to my work, the people who interrupt my work, well, they actually are my work. And there's much work to be done.
Thank you for helping us do it another month. We couldn't do it without you.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Hugh Hollowell
Pastor & Director