Wednesday, February 13, 2013

LOVE week

Ok, so before I start explaining how this week has really opened my eyes to the underbelly of this city(Nashville), I have to start off with praising God for how absolutely generous He has been these past few weeks as I've moved back to Tennessee.

First of all, I have to start with my move back here. While the process was a little rough to begin with, I found a place to live, and have been blessed with my Landlord's patience while I work out my bills and my paychecks and jobs. In no less than 10 weeks, I was quite easily re-hired at Victoria's Secret(with a little extra step up on the way), hired at Charming Charlie, and moved into a town home. A lot of times, it takes much longer than that to get into a place. Especially when you don't really have family to stay with. I mean, my brother let me stay with him until the second week in January, and then I was crashing at my best friend Rachel's house for a little while. So really, I've only been in my apartment for about 4 1/2 weeks. And my blessings keep getting sweeter. Right now, I'm looking forward to being Bra Certified; and to many of you, this makes absolutely no sense, but to those of you at Victoria's Secret who are excited about their job, you will understand. That certification is just another step up to where I want to be in the company, which will then take place in March when we start working on the AIM(Associates Interested in Management) program. From there, it is a Four month journey filled with projects and learning(I thought I just graduated?! :P), and around June, I should be close to the point where I could be in management at Victoria's Secret!

Not only is my life being blessed and planned and solidified as all this with my job happens, but my world just keeps getting smaller! And this is in no way bad! A lot of cute little coincidences have sprung up when it comes to people I know, or places I've been. A couple of weeks ago, a girl came into MY Victoria's Secret(out of the 6 in the district, and about 4 within a 50 mile radius), and she just HAPPENED to be from Orange City, Iowa. She knew the Coffee shop my parents owned and the college I went to. She had literally moved to Nashville about two weeks after I had! Cray! Fast forward a couple of weeks later, and as this LOVE week kicked off, and my relationship with my church just keeps getting deeper and much more involved, I find that I grew up in the same state as one of the other girls(Utah), I lived about an hour away from another(in Iowa), and another complete stranger was also from Utah that I met at one of the service projects our church attended on Tuesday. I know these seem like insignificant coincidences, but little nostalgic things like that make me so happy to know I've got connections.

Now onto this LOVE week!

Jim Florea, Forward Church's Pastor, decided to declare this week LOVE Week, in an attempt to emphasize the love that is advertised everywhere. As you may or may not know, this commercialized season of love started with St. Valentine, and his efforts to marry soldiers who were forbidden to marry, and ministering to people who had been closed out of the church. The development of this "holiday" took its root in the 14th and 15th centuries and glorified by Geoffrey Chaucer, with his romantic ideas. We also know that the St Valentine's Day Massacre happened in 1929, but that obviously wasn't an act of love...I don't know what's up with that.

Anyway, so Jim wanted to focus on the Good in Love, and since our church has given itself the job of loving the city around us, Jim wanted us to actively do that this week. So, each day, so far, we have done something to help our city. But, instead of start another organization(since the City already has a surplus of organizations to help, as I've realized through our process) we've been blessed to help out existing organizations. Sunday, we stayed after church and just picked up trash around the town where we hold church. I didn't do that because I had a hair appointment, but I did attend Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday's events, and they have opened my eyes and humbled me.

Monday night, we teamed up with People Loving Nashville and helped box up and serve close to 120 Chicken Teriaki  meals to the homeless, near the Capitol building in Nashville. This was very similar to the service project our group did in Ecuador, where we went to a local church and served up food to the homeless, too. It made my heart swell to know that these people appreciated that we were being genuinely willing to give them a moment of peace and hope, and most of all, LOVE, in that evening. I hope to return. PLN is full of a handful of genuine and loving volunteers who take time out of their busy 9-5 schedules to take free food and clothing to the homeless every Monday night,even through the winter time. If you can, please take a moment to check out their website!

Tuesday night, we volunteered under the Jefferson Street Bridge, where close to 200(I think) homeless gathered for a hot meal, Worship Service, and a sort of grocery picking line. It was here I found my Utah Homies(:P), and the connection to an old and very bad Spanish teacher! haha! Some Smyrna High kids had been there. It was cute.

Wednesday morning, a handful of us went to The Ronald McDonald House and made lunch for the families and children who were staying there. We got a visit from the Krispy Kreme bus, which was a completely remodeled 1960 beast of a vehicle. So gorgeous.

The Donut guy gave me his heart. D-awww. ;)

So the takeaway from this week, since I'll be at work tomorrow when the last event is going on at Helping Hands, is very simple. It's not sad, or pitying. It's thankful and hopeful. My heart was fit to burst every time someone has said thank you, and I only felt like I needed to be the one to be thankful. Our city, no matter how corrupt it seems on the outside, is really filled with a large number of people who care about what happens to those less fortunate. I guess another thing I have to be thankful for is that I know that if I would ever find myself in the position of the homeless, I would have people to turn to. Not just friends and family, but complete, genuine and loving strangers. This LOVE week has shown me that there really is enough love to go around. And it's not seasonal. These organizations display acts of love on a regular basis! No strings attached!

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