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Plugged In

It is just after 4:00 PM on a Friday, and I am out on the streets in Dortmund. I am glad to finish work early today, glad that there is plenty of daylight left for my walk. Still, there is an awful heaviness in my heart and limbs, as I head into the coming weekend. It’s like my body refuses to move. Two months have passed since I started working at the kindergarten, and while I am thankful for every day that I do not break any of the many unwritten rules, it has been exhausting. 

I tuck the headphones in my ears, choose some music, and force myself to take a step. Father, just as the invisible Bluetooth connects my cell phone to the headphones, help me to connect with you. 

It’s a long walk, one step in front of the other a thousand times until the canal appears in front of me. The green trees are doing what I want to do: drinking from the source, the life-giving water. It fills me, and I lie down on the grass to rest for a while, and let my thoughts run free.

Suddenly, a face crosses my mind. I think of Pavlo, how he first showed up at our church with two other homeless people. We greeted them warmly and offered whatever we had at that moment, even doing an improvised translation of the sermon into Russian. Pavlo keeps coming back. Each Sunday, he arrives at church, takes out the small white extension cable that we gave him and plugs it into a socket to charge his cell phone. As I think about that, I realize that God has been recharging his whole life, through friendship and sermons and songs and prayer, and members of our church visiting him on the street to give him support and practical help. He is no longer who he once was. I think to myself, “This is the kind of church we want to be. A place for people running low on all kinds of batteries. A place where we can plug in to the presence of God.” 

An all-too-familiar warning is now beeping in my ear: “Battery level low.” I smile and get up from where I have been laying down in the meadow, eyes closed, enjoying the soft rays of sunshine on my face. My soul has been recharged. 

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