I’ve written previously about the power of questions. After all, it was a simple question that got this started. Another question started another trip. My tattoo artist, a deeply committed atheist, asked a simple question. If he gave me free time under the needle, what good could I do with that money saved. In other words, a trade. As a Christian, I traffic in good deeds, and he, obviously, in tattooing. A thought exercise began revolving around how to balance the scales.
Admittedly, it was a rough start to working through the question. I was caught off guard by the question and so unprepared to respond. Despite that, the general idea began to take shape. I would use my regular volunteer spot as a platform to build from. Stumbling over my words, I spat something out. An admittedly terrible idea. Turning my apartment into a breakfast spot for my homeless friends. After a few seconds thought, I assumed my neighbors wouldn’t appreciate it, so we scratched it off the list. But I was on the right track and it was up to me to find the answer. When my work was done, I would relay it back William and he would share his with me.
About this time, my volunteer schedule was shifting and this gave me a chance to redefine my time there. A chance to build something new. This was exciting. I’m not someone who is always on the lookout for the chance to build something, but over the course of the past year, I’ve learned that the chance to build something is something that wakes me up, whether that is writing a book, planting a church, dreaming up a farm or reinventing my volunteer space. The creative work stirs something up in me. It’s as though I’ve been designed to be a creative being. This was a new outlet for me to work out this creative energy and to build something new. Like all other building opportunities, this became an obsession. This itch continually sat there waiting to be scratched.
Finally, the idea was fine tuned and a new chapter was started. My time volunteering had fundamentally changed. Instead of giving my time exclusively to the place, I gave a little extra time outside of that place. Once a month, I bring in some sort of homemade snack to share with my friends and share time with them over a snack. As a Southerner, all important moments of life occur with food. It’s also deeply central to the life and teaching of Jesus. So, what better way to deepen friendships than with a fresh baked cookie? And, at least in this instance, I didn’t have to wait to for my reward. A couple hours of free tattooing waited for me.
This may be all that comes out of this or perhaps this is something that will continue and grow into something else. Perhaps a new iteration waits down the road. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.