loren Eric Swanson: A Second Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Second Thanksgiving

Boulder County Safehouse is a great organization in our community that shelters battered women and helps them relocate and start over. It is one of the great human service organizations in our community. Yesterday, as part of Flatiron Community Church's Men at Work (externally focused) ministry, Don Wilcox and his friend Peter, helped organize a workforce to move a woman and her three children from her apartment to a "safehouse"--one of several undisclosed locations in Boulder. (My own church, Calvary Bible EFC, also has a partnership with the shelter.) Donny fixed breakfast for the men in the morning and then eight of us showed up to move. John Lamb made the observation on the way over that men fall into two categories--those who protect women and those who bully women.

A few years ago I met with Anne Tapp, the director of the Safehouse and she said that by the time a woman is put in touch with the shelter, she has been beaten a dozen time or more. Before entering into the apartment, we met Bilo, from the Safehouse, who has coordinated scores of such moves. All of us had to sign a form stating that we would keep the location of the safehouse a secret.

The move had a few challenges (if you've ever moved a sofabed, you'd understand) but took only a couple of hours. After the beds were set up and all of the furniture was in place, Donny asked if we could pray a prayer of blessing on this young women and her family. There is power in blessing to convey hope and as we circled around the livingroom, and held hands and prayed we did so with the expectation that God would continue to bring good people into this family and this would be a time of new beginnings. After the prayer, one of the daughters gave us her note of thanksgiving to us. She was grateful that eight strong men chose to bless instead of bully. Amazing, isn't it, how many forms thanksgiving takes. She was doing the thanking but it is we who were truly blessed.


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