If you’ve ever spent time in a shelter, your first impression would likely be that they are places without hope—without love. Much of the comforts we enjoy in our homes are not present, and sometimes the sheer scale of seeing people with nowhere else to sleep can be overwhelming. Yet I am reminded of a quote from St. John of the Cross, a fifteenth-century Christian theologian: “Where there is no love, put love—and you will find love.”
This is the task of staff members like Desiree and many others here at the Mission. We are suiting up and showing up every day. We are going into the places that lack love and looking into faces that lack hope and putting love and hope there. On hot summer days, I’m reminded of another St. John of the Cross quote: “In the dark night of the soul, bright flows the river of God.” Though it has been a hot summer, many of our guests are still living in a dark night of the soul, and we believe that God has positioned Fort Collins Rescue Mission to be the bright flowing river of God for those individuals. Throughout May and June, through a funding partnership with the City of Fort Collins (see the back page), we have been able to operate our shelter 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
One more St. John of the Cross quote: “In the twilight of life, we will be judged on love.” There are two ways of reading this quote. First, how much and how well we love our neighbors and God will determine the worth and weight of our lives in the end. Second, what we love will be our judge. For this reason, I am so grateful to work at a place like the Mission, because it offers an opportunity to love others in the name of Christ.
At the twilight of my life, I hope to be judged by what I love: Jesus, because He first loved me. It was when I had no love that He gave me His love to give to others. He has also used all of you, our supporters and donors, by putting His love into your hearts for our guests. Thank you for your support of our staff, our work and our shelters, where love can now be found where there was none before.
Senior Director of Fort Collins Rescue Mission
This post is part of August’s Changing Lives Newsletter. In this edition, A Day in the Life of a Frontline Employee, you’ll read about Desiree, a current Mission staff member, and see what it’s like to serve people experiencing homelessness at Fort Collins Rescue Mission.