Some nights it isn’t easy and you wonder why you are there. You think it is all pointless and you are certain you are wasting your life, shelling out precious hours that could be spent doing something profitable, productive, priority. Sometimes you are sure that what you are doing is making no difference at all and that you might as well be doing anything else with your evening rather than spending it in a smoke filled room with broken, busted up people who would much rather sulk in the shadows than dare to walk out into the light.
And other times there are nights like tonight, when nothing particularly special but everything miraculous happens all at once. You find yourself talking with the manager of the local strip club about the okra and peppers that he grows in his garden each summer and realize the entire exchange is holy. Nights where you share a meal with a too skinny dancer wearing less than a bikini and find points of common ground and know she trusts you a little more because you have dared to come into her world.
You look out and see the women who are travelling this journey with you and you watch them grow into their call even as you are growing into your own. You see them smile and hug and encourage; you watch them serve and share and sit down into the struggle of it all and you think, what a picture we all are here risking and reaching. Each one of us is here, dancers and club staff and church women, all God’s children, trying to understand the other, trying to speak the language, trying to enter in, to welcome; to know and be known. There are moments when you laugh together about a television show or the song playing in the background and you are aware that you have become family together with this little band of survivors.
Survivors. You see them as such now because you have come to know some of the trauma and loss that they have seen in their short lived lives. You are aware of the hardships and obstacles that have colored their years and you pray to God with each breath that they can feel a little taste of divine love every time you ask them, “can I make you a plate to take home?”
You bring them gifts and draw hearts on their ‘to go’ boxes and you hang your glittering butterfly ornament on the chord of the Miller Beer sign. You pack your things and you leave your glitter butterfly behind hoping that every time the light catches those wings just so they will sparkle and gleam like gold refined in the fire so that those upon whom this light shines will see it and know they are loved. On nights like tonight, you remember why you have come.