It’s a word I knew, but it’s only during the months since Joy Junction began operating its Lifeline of Hope mobile food wagon have I heard it used so frequently.
The word is “chillin.” We’ll often ask our visitors to the Lifeline what they’ve been doing and for some people, more often than not, the answer is “We’re chillin.”
My colleague Kathy Sotelo heard a variation of that recently when she asked one man how he was doing and he answered, “Chillin’ like a villain.”
The Urban Dictionary gave some interesting definitions for “chillin.” One was “relaxing doing nothing special.” Another that really caught my attention was “To be in a state of prolonged satisfactory boredom. A positive phase of being, not regarded as being bored but not in the process of doing anything worth elaborating upon.”
Some of the most frequent users of the “chillin” word are those who appear to be high or intoxicated. It’s easy to write these folk off as “alcoholics” or “drug addicts,” and glibly trot out the often used Bible verse “If a man shall not work, he shall not work.” However, there’s a problem with that philosophy. What do you do with the alcoholic or drug addict who is not yet ready for rehab? Do you leave them to starve on the sidewalk? I can’t see that in any way reflects the Love of Jesus.
I’ve come to realize that the majority of people who are addicted to alcohol, illegal drugs or an inappropriate use of prescription drugs initially plunge into that seamy world in an attempt to dull intense emotional pain perhaps bought on by a tragedy. That event could be losing a loved one or another high stress event like a divorce.
While these folk admittedly make a conscious choice to take the first pill, inject themselves with the first needle or drown their sorrows in alcohol, for some it soon becomes an addiction. While these issues don’t affect everyone the same way I don’t have a clue! Incidentally, I believe that there but for the Grace of God go you and I! Be slow to judge or you may find yourself in a similar predicament!
Our job with the Lifeline of Hope is to comfort these precious and troubled souls with the Love of Jesus. We hope to build a relationship that will allow them to trust us and hopefully become a stepping stone toward going to rehab, or coming to Joy Junction and perhaps knowing Jesus in a personal way.
I wanted to give a perspective other than mine about what we do on the Lifeline of Hope and with that in mind invited Linus Carver, a former Joy Junction resident and now a kitchen supervisor, to accompany us on a recent Lifeline Sunday outreach. For a number of months, Linus has prepared some of the meals that go out on the Lifeline of Hope.
After we had fed many meals, our Joseph Taylor and Linus opened up an additional vehicle containing, among other things, clothes, shoes and personal hygiene items. Someone approached Joseph and Linus to see if they had any socks, a precious commodity on the streets.
Linus said, “We didn’t, but we did have a pair of shoes that might fit him. I thought back to the time I first arrived at Joy Junction and remembered what a premium clean socks were. Right up there with coffee and tobacco.”
Linus said as we headed out to Albuquerque’s West Side, it hit him how far away he was driving from any kind of services or support for the homeless.
Linus added, “(The day) made clear the meaning of the name, ‘Lifeline of Hope.’ It really is a Lifeline.”
While on the West Side and other stops, Linus said he observed people on the edge of homelessness. Living paycheck to paycheck they were grateful for any kind of assistance.
Linus said, “Cold drinks on a hot day, sack lunches or even bars of soap, the people were pleased to see the ‘Lifeline of Hope’ arrive into their neighborhood bringing good food and a good word. Just seeing all the children come running up to us with smiles on their faces made it all worthwhile.”
Linus said he appreciated the opportunity to experience the other side of what he does in the kitchen.
He added, “Bringing food, clothes, and words of encouragement to people is important. Just showing someone that there are people who care can bring an immeasurable amount of hope.”
Reflecting on his experience a few days later, Linus said, “The Lifeline of Hope is not just about feeding people. It is about communication and letting people know about other support services such as St. Martin’s. Arranging a bed for someone back at Joy Junction, or telling them about Healthcare for The Homeless. Letting them know that there are people out there who can give them a helping hand.”
Combining hope and delicious food often makes unbearable situations a little better, he said. “All that is just a small part of the “Joy Junction Way,” Linus added.
I appreciate Linus’ hard work and the care and concern of all of our kitchen crew that makes the Lifeline of Hope an ongoing reality. More so than ever, we need your prayers, that the Lord would provide the funds to allow us not only to continue, but to expand, this amazing ministry.
And perhaps most importantly please pray that all of our Lifeline staff manage to effectively present the gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that it will inspire a purposeful hope, confidence and energy in Jesus that will replace the lethargy of “chillin like a villain.”
Jeremy Reynalds, Assist News Service