As Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day comes to a close in Olympia, we’d like to share some words of wisdom from Rev. Jan Bolerjack. Jan draws a great parallel between a team suffering a sudden, disastrous loss in football and individuals encountering unexpected hardships in life. Just as Seattle fans have stuck behind the Seahawks after their Super Bowl loss, Jan urges us to continue to support those in our community who find themselves suddenly homeless and without a support system. One way you can show your support is by attending Interfaith Advocacy Day this Thursday, February 19th, in Olympia (register here), or if you can’t make it, call or write to your legislators about the issues that matter to you and make your voice heard! Find your legislative district and legislators here and call the legislative hotline to leave a brief message: 800.562.6000. Read on!
By Rev. Jan Bolerjack, originally posted 2/16/15 on the UMC’s Pacific Northwest Conference site
Wasn’t that Super Bowl a heartbreaker? We had such hope and it seemed to be falling into place and then… a simple play, a pass, into the wrong hands. And it was over. We lost. We went silent. Baffled by one coaches call. You could almost hear a gasp from the whole Pacific Northwest –WHAT was that? How could things go so wrong so quickly?
But it was just a game.
And yet this is a common experience in life. You get everything in order but something unexpected comes along and interrupts the flow. In life, it may be a sudden illness, or loss of job, or relationship breakup, or an unexpected expense and kaboom life turns into turmoil.
This is the story I hear over and over from families that become suddenly homeless.
- A carefully prepared for move across the country for a promised job but upon arrival – no job = homeless.
- Or a broken down car for a family already just getting by financially and suddenly no way to get to work = fired = homeless.
- Or the middle class home in the suburbs suddenly filled with water as the nearby water main breaks – no flood insurance – house is lost = homeless.
- Or a woman decides to leave an abusive marriage, children in tow, no money, no home, no support system = homeless.
Sometimes it is the fault of someone – like a bad play being called – but a fault that usually wouldn’t cause much disruption. And now it has lead to a big (and public) loss. Sometimes no finger of fault can be pointed and yet disaster has struck.
Maybe there is something to be learned here. We saw the fans still show up to support the Seahawks. There was still a crowd to greet them when they arrived home. The 12th Man (and woman and child) could see beyond the bad call to the sensational season, to the many good calls, to the humanity of the players and their hard work. We can follow the personal stories to see the good to the community that can come from their fame and their pride.
In the same way as a community we need to continue to rally behind those who have “lost” in our world. Those who have lost homes, families, friends, livelihood, purpose, faith,… locally and globally. We need to listen to their stories, honor their lives and work to give them dignity and hope.
Life is not a game but maybe we can learn from the one that was played large on February 1st.
Rev. Jan Bolerjack serve as the pastor of the Riverton Park United Methodist Church in Tukwila, Washington.