You know the people you meet and you think I wish I could be just like them. Well I meet those people at Star of Hope every day. In fact I work with some on a regular basis. Consider me lucky.
Recently, I went to photograph a group volunteering at the Star of Hope Women & Family Emergency Shelter. Being new I barely know anyone and honestly it is a little intimidating visiting the other shelters. Nonetheless I introduced myself to the lady at the front desk, threw out a few names and then told her what exactly I was there for. She informed me the group I had come to photograph wouldn’t be in for an hour, but invited me to stay with her and sit.
I sat and then she completely and unintentionally inspired my…life.
First of all, she warmly introduced herself as Mrs. Faye. From previous experiences in life I have developed a theory that anyone who says you can call me Mrs. First Name they are really great at showing they love you, but they won't let any "funny business" slide. In another words they show "tough love." I think this theory fits Mrs. Faye perfectly.
While talking with Mrs. Faye our conversation was casually interrupted with her greeting regular volunteers by their first names, asking them questions about their lives, checking clients in and out of the facility and opening doors for people. Once a girl came into thank Mrs. Faye for being there with support when she felt no one else was. “I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t know what to do. Then Mrs. Faye told me to hold on God will soon bless you…and He did. I waited for my blessing just like Mrs. Faye had told me to do.”
Mrs. Faye didn’t take any credit. She just shook her head and lovingly congratulated and encouraged the girl. The girl left and Mrs. Faye picked up on her story right where she left off 15 minutes prior.
Again, another woman came to the front desk. This women was obviously tired and frustrated. She told Mrs. Faye she needed out, she couldn’t handle it anymore; she wanted to go and try and make it on her own. Mrs. Faye lovingly listened and reminded her that Star of Hope offered her stability right now. The girl continued to insist she was leaving Star of Hope and asked “If I leave can I come back?” Mrs. Faye said “Of course, you can always come back, but this is the best place for you right now. If you leave please keep in touch because I want to know how you are doing.” The girl walked away. Mrs. Faye watched.
After a long pause she continued telling me about thrift shopping. She said that she ran into so many amazing deals she couldn't skip over them. In fact, almost every female Star of Hope employee carries a bag that Mrs. Faye "just couldn't pass up." I said “Well Mrs. Faye I expect one soon.” She said hold on…went to get someone to take her place at the front desk and in two minutes came back with three purses for me to choose from.
Before I left Mrs. Faye told me a little about her personal life. She bragged about her two kids. She loving talked about her nieces shopping with her. Then Mrs. Faye rubbed her stubbly hair and talked about her friends. She said soon a friend will start cancer treatment and will lose all of her hair. Mrs. Faye wants to be ready with support, so she is gradually cutting her hair shorter and shorter and will be there in love, sympathy, and as many other ways she can for her friend.
Leaving the emergency shelter I carried with me a new green purse full of hope and a living example of Christ's love. Mrs. Faye is a Star of Hope confidently showing what grace and truth looks like.