Monthly Archives: February 2017

INTERRUPTED

IMG_1006This morning at Dutton Farm was the typical hustle and bustle of people flooding in and greeting each other and going through their usual routines. It was a busy day with many people, lots of unexpected interruptions and much to do.
I stole away for a few minutes around 11:30 to sit with my bookkeeper and analyze multiple year comparisons of financial data. It’s funny to me that earlier in 2016 I attempted to create some kind of structure and boundary in my office so I put a sign up that says something like “When door is closed please knock” or “when closed please stay out”. This sign is literally completely ignored and each one of my farmer friends (some more than others) who feels the need, flings open my door, heads on up, plops on a chair and forces me to slow down and remember the whole point of the farm. Sometimes the visit is lighthearted and fun, like when my new friend Nick stomps up the stairs and announces with fist pumping in the air and the enthusiasm of someone ready to fight terrorism “I AM GOING TO TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE!!!”, or other times it is someone who lays their head in my lap and cries until they have no more tears left to cry, but each encounter makes my heart full and so glad that they ignore my stupid sign.
This morning was no different, and as I was pouring over numbers and budgets (in all my type A glory) I hear commotion coming up the stairs. I wince a little inside because I am anxious to get through what is in front of me. Bursting into my office asking “where is Jenny, Where is Jenny” is my relatively new friend Sheena. Sheena who was supposed to come to work on Monday at 9am is able to make it instead on Wednesday at 11:30, but whatever, we are working on it. We began working together a few months ago when, in typical Sheena fashion, she bursts through my door asking for help. This lovely lady who never fails to make me smile from the deepest part of my soul lives utterly and completely alone. When she first came, she explained a little of her story and the devastating abuse and inability to land a job due to her myriad of diagnoses which make it difficult for her to keep her commitments. So, after we talked that day, I hired her on the spot, and I am so glad that I did. Since that day, she has allowed me to see the greatness in the human race. So many people have brought life to her in so many different ways, from visiting her, to bringing her necessities, giving her rides or just answering the phone when she calls. It has truly been a privilege to witness. She is poor as poor can be, and is a little disorganized (well, who am I kidding, a lot disorganized) but she has the most breathtakingly beautiful soul. I believe with all of my heart that we will be friends for life, and not only because I love her, I most certainly do, but because she will do whatever it takes to get a hold of me, and if calling 50 times doesn’t work, she will call the mayor’s office and ask them to find me(which she did).
So, anyhow, back to my morning. I am not really expecting her at the time that she showed up, but what is really surprising to me is that she has someone trailing behind her. Sheena immediately tells me rapidly, “Jenny, I brought **** with me! She wants a job here too. I told her how you helped me and that you can help her too!” I am dumbfounded and grasping for words. “How did you get here?” She answers quickly, “Uber, and oh yeah, I need to borrow $13 to pay them.” I crack a smile and manage to say “Sheena, you can’t bring people to your place of employment and surprise your boss and then ask for an interview and hire on the spot, it doesn’t really work like that. You need to at least call me first. I mean there is protocol…” Somehow in the Lord’s mercy, He stops me from continuing and I notice the lack of eye contact and the gait that isn’t quite right in the small frame standing behind the boisterous Sheena. I study this new girl and see that she is merely a child and most certainly has some developmental delay. She will not look at me, already expecting to be turned away. I change directions and buy some time. “Okay, why don’t you two get settled up here, let me wrap a few things up and I’ll get back with you.” I move on in a blur of our day with all of the joyful, eye opening, heart-warming and hard things that each moment brings. After about 30 minutes, I head back to Sheena and her friend, still not sure of what to say or do. I think to myself, In all logic, I don’t know this girl, is she even safe, we don’t have enough as it is. All of the excuses running through my head to convince myself that I am justified to make her someone else’s issue. I sit down and plan to let her down gently, but instead of saying what I planned to say, “Where did you go to high school?” pops out. She answers quietly, and finishes with a barely audible “worst four years of my life”. “How old are you?” She is just nineteen. I continue on to ask questions and find that she is living ALONE in an apartment in an unsafe part of town. She is in fact disabled and grew up in the throngs of drug addiction and abuse. As our conversation comes to a close I am barely able to breathe, but working hard to appear unphased in her presence so it is not awkward for her to share. It is close to lunch time so I hand her an application and tell her to work on it the best she can while she has her lunch. Literally, not even exaggerating, this little girl pulls out a sleeve of saltine crackers half gone to eat for lunch. This was all she had. I felt like someone had just threw a bucket of cold water in my face. “You know what, I’ll just grab you something for lunch, don’t even worry about wasting food from home. You just save that for a snack for later”. I head downstairs and cannot even process what is happening. As I sit here now, I am sure that the Lord is using Dutton Farm in a mighty way. Definitely not because of me, but despite me, and when I lose my way or focus on the wrong thing, God can use a faithful friend like Sheena to put me back on track. How close I came to being like the one in the story of the Good Samaritan who crossed over on the other side and made excuses as to why I didn’t have to love “this neighbor” today. It’s true, Dutton Farm does not have all the resources that we need at the moment to help her, but I have experienced enough by now to know that God will supply what we need to do what He has asked us to do, and by the way, if you feel like you are a part of that plan, please private message or call me. Thank you to each of you who journey with us even through reading my meager words and offering up a prayer for us at Dutton Farm. You mean more to us than you know…