Original post at http://www.grdistrictumc.org/2012/12/other-rooms/
I was at the church for another purpose. We had a meeting scheduled in the room next door and I was heading into that space, but as I walked past the door and glanced in, there was a man sitting alone. He didn’t look up as I moved past, he sat still in his chair. But what struck me as I walked by the room was that the man looked intensely sad. There was a depth to his sadness that was absolutely clear in his whole demeanor. I saw him for less than a second but I can recall the image of him clearly even now. He appeared to be carrying the weight of the world.
I learned the group meeting in the room in which the man sat was AA. Alcoholics Anonymous has sought to help folks dealing with that particular addiction help each other since 1935. Millions of persons struggling with alcohol abuse have found support, and the ability to manage their addiction, through the work of this organization. I am so grateful that several of our churches host AA meetings. But as I thought about my friend in the other room, it brought home to me again the many ways in which people struggle every day and how important it is for me to pay attention to it. It brought home to me again that while I celebrate this season of remembering Christ’s birth with my family and friends, others are struggling to keep life together. Jesus had an affinity for hurting people. He sought out those that his culture pushed to the margins. He sought out people the church (or the religious institution anyway) pushed to the margins.
I’ve been praying for the man in the other room. I have been praying that his meeting provided him with some new hope and strength for the next day. I have been praying that he might know the deep good news of Christmas and that, that reality might bring him genuine joy in the midst of the struggle. And I have been praying for myself, that my eyes might stay open to the ways I can offer myself and our churches to all the people in the “other rooms.”