Thursday, June 11, 2009

Highland Manor

Some people have heard me talk about when I go to Highland Manor every other Tuesday night. 

Some people wonder what it is. 

I'm here to explain.

Highland Manor is a somewhat assisted living facility in downtown Birmingham that houses a lot of Lakeshore Foundation members. 

(Sidenote: It's an old hotel or apartment building, we think, and the top floor used to be a club/bar back in the day called "Top 21". We gather this from the fact that it is in fact the 16th floor but the elevator button is labeled "Top 21" and the layout of the space is quasi-old timey clubish.)

But I digress...

This bi-monthly meeting was born out of our desire to bring a good meal every other Tuesday to a few of our favorite Lakeshore members. Since most of the people we meet with aren't very mobile (i.e. cerebral palsy and other phyisal handicaps), they aren't really able to fix a very good meal for themselves every day. Usually, they just fix one meal and have leftovers or order out or whatever. 

So in my old bible study that I used to do with a group of girls from church, we decided (with the guidance and suggestion of my roommate Kelly, who actually works with these people every day) to start doing this every other week about two years ago. It has quickly spread to our other small group that meets on Thursday at our house and has become more of a fun night with friends now than a service opportunity.

I wasn't able to go for a couple of months because of spring sports and I had forgotten how much I love going. For two reasons...well three...okay, four.

1 and 2. These two precious people:

This is a picture of Randall and Kisha. I guess you could call them my favorites. They both have CP (cerebral palsy) and are two precious souls. I met Kisha first when I voluteered at the Lakeshore Triathlon. As I stood out in the parking lot waiting to help people who were hand-cycling up the daunting hill if they needed help, Kish came and kept me company. She talked to Emily and I the whole time we were out there and when our time was up, Emily and I just craved more time with her. 

After we planned to start doing dinner, we met Randall and he became my second favorite. He's so funny. I can't stand it. I leave with half of my makeup off because I've been crying from laughing so hard. 

3. This...

This view. Highland Manor sits right above Five Points in downtown Birmingham and it "Top 21" (heehee) has a sweet little patio that covers a whole two sides of the building. And the above picture is the view of Birmingham from it. I'm telling you, if there is one great thing about Birmingham, it's the views. There are some amazing mountain top/building aerial views here.

Anyway, it's just so calming to look out onto the city and see what's out there. And then to pray over that city and seek God's work in it. Amazing.

3. The fellowship. There might be days that I don't feel like going to Highland Manor but there is never a day when I leave that place wishing I hadn't gone. I'm always filled with joy and thankfulness for each person in that place. It's just such an amazing experience to share life with some many different people. To love on each other. Share our triumphs and our low points and know that everyone is rejoicing or fighting or grieving with you.

We used to just go and have dinner and talk and then leave. One day, one of the guys that goes with us felt lead to start doing a devotion. And y'all, it's been amazing to see the response to that devotion. Just a little 5-10 minute devotion has changed that bi-weekly meeting from a time to just come a get a free meal, to a time to come and share life with 12 or 15 or 20 other people. 

God, thank you so much for placing me here in Birmingham for such a time as this. Everywhere I go and in every person I met, I see you. I see your love and I feel just a tiny bit more of your compassion for the people that you have created in your own image. I am constantly in awesome wonder of the ways that you show yourself real to through so many people and situations. And by your faithfulness to take care of every need and every situation that I or anyone else may have. 

I praise you for the sight that I have in my eyes so that I can see your glorious creation and the smiles on each person's face that I gather with. I praise you for the legs that carry me to my car that carries me to the place where I am able to fellowship with your children. 

Please continue to bless our time with the people at Highland Manor so that you receive the glory in everything that we do. 

And that's Highland Manor. Now you know.