I pray the day is finding you well.
Carlos came into the “Y” a couple of days ago; I was at an offsite meeting.
As usual, the front desk staff greeted him in their typical friendly manner, smiles on their faces, asking about his day.
Carlos responds, “My mom died this morning.”
Carlos is a regular at our YCMA; he lived with his mother and is developmentally delayed.
Carlos maybe developmentally delayed but he is all there.
When I got back to the “Y”, the staff told me about Carlos’ mom, they were pretty upset.
Yesterday Carlos came into the “Y” and I was in my office.
I grabbed Carlos and we went into my office.
Carlos is now all alone in the world. Last year his grandmother died. A few days ago his mother died. He has no family he is all alone. His pain wafts all around him. His pain permeates from his soul. He is trying very hard to be a grownup and take care of grownup things, like the rent, electric bills, and funeral arrangements for his mother.
I held Carlos as he cried.
I grieved with him.
I told Carlos that he is not alone in this world. He has his YMCA family.
I walked Carlos around the facility and had him sit with the Health and Wellness team. I asked Carlos if it would be all right to share, he said, “Yes.” I told the team Carlos’ story. The team shared in his grief and told Carlos that he is part of the YMCA family now and that family looks out for family. They set up times to meet with Carlos.
We then went to the membership team and I asked Carlos if it was ok to share, he said, “Yes.”
I shared Carlos’ story.
The membership team shared in his grief and told Carlos that he was part of the YMCA family and that he was not alone.
I called my friend Brandon.
Brandon is the pastor of the church that meets at our YMCA. Brandon came over and Carlos told Brandon what happened. Brandon shared in his grief and told Carlos that he is not alone, that he has his YMCA family to help him.
Carlos rides the bus he does not drive.
Usually Carlos comes to the “Y” in the morning and stays for a couple of hours; then goes home. Yesterday Carlos did not leave until almost 4pm. He stopped by my office before he left. Today is laundry day for Carlos so I probably will not see him today. I called my friend Kris at ARC, Monday we have an appointment with the Social Security office. Tuesday he meets with the Health and Wellness family. Carlos does not attend church but we are going to start meeting twice a week to read the bible together, something he used to do with his mother.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew.
And then they came for me—
And there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemoller penned this now famous quote after being imprisoned for eight years in concentration camps as the personal prisoner of Adolf Hitler.
Carlos obviously has moved all of us at the YMCA. We will speak for him. He is part of our family, just as everyone who calls the YMCA home is part of our family.
If you still think of the YMCA as simply a “swim and gym” think again.
People ask me why we do what we do.
My response is, “We are the Y, that’s why.”
I am reminded of these words that Jesus spoke:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:31-45
Will you help us help others?