It’s been my experience over the years working in drop-ins and shelters that the fall season can be the most difficult and stressful time of the year for staff. As our friends on the street transition from the relative safety and warmth of summer and start to prepare for the oncoming danger; the darkness and cold of winter, survival instincts kick in, often causing them to close down to others around them. This can be exhibited by impatience, anger, aggression, frustration and an unwillingness and inability to maintain collegial relations with others. It’s a time when more incidents with staff and other residents can take place due to the short fuses that come with hunkering down in order to survive the winter. And if we’re being honest, some of these issues happen with us too.
As staff, it’s an especially good time of year to focus on the nine attributes of God known in the Christian world as ‘the fruits of the spirit’. These are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. It is my prayer that this season of transition can be one of great joy and peace for all of you and the folks who come through our doors every day seeking shelter.
Holy God, in these early days of autumn, we thank you for the wonder of the fall colours emerging all around us and the beauty of your creation in this season of transition.
We praise you for the mystery of the rhythms of how your creation works,
For the reminders of your presence and your unfathomable imagination in the way that you have designed the universe.
We are overwhelmed by your greatness and even more amazed that despite the awesomeness of the cosmos, you still know and love each one of us by name.
For those who are struggling to get by,
whose lives are in shambles due to broken relationships, broken hearts, broken dreams,
help them find their way and to see your light
and bring on us an extra level of generosity,
that all might share in the beauty of your creation
and all will be at peace.