Michael's Urban Experience
I wasn’t sure what time it was when my phone started ringing. As I answered I heard a familiar voice at the other end and suddenly knew what the call was about. A few hours earlier we had been at the footy with a group of the guys from the community, packed into the MCG with 84,000 others. The allegiances of our group were split evenly between Carlton and Richmond, and for awhile it looked it like it would be a close game. But the Tigers got on a roll and ran home winners by a comfortable margin. The banter between the guys was just about as entertaining as the game, as we shared a few laughs until the final siren sounded. Walking out the ground we said goodbye, going our separate ways into the Easter weekend.
Three of the guys were heading towards Flinders Street Station, so I tagged along to catch up with one of our regulars Jeremy, who was with his cousin, Thomas, and brother, Jared. Jared is one of the more unique members of our community, due to a lifelong disability that has left him unable to speak. Despite this we still have some lively conversations about the footy as he uses every other form of communication to get his strong point of view across. Walking in a crowd of thousands Jeremy and I turned around to make sure that Thomas and Jared were still following us.
Unfortunately only one of them was. Jared had disappeared and we didn’t have much hope of finding him in such a large crowd. Jeremy didn’t seem too bothered, saying that his older brother knew the way home so we should keep on walking and they would meet up with him later on. A few minutes later I said goodbye to Jeremy and Thomas, taking a shortcut back to Urban Seed HQ on Collins Street and the comfort of my bed.
As you might have guessed by now, the voice at the end of the phone was Jeremy’s. It was well after midnight and Jared wasn’t home yet. Jeremy thought that he might be sitting on the steps of Flinders Street Station and asked if I could go have a look for him and then find a taxi to get him home. He said that his dad would pay for the fare. So I put on some warm clothes and set off in that direction, making a quick phone call to an old neighbour, named Vijay, who I thought might be able to help.
When I reached the steps Jared wasn’t there. I called Jeremy again to see where else his brother might be, but he was out of ideas. So I started walking back towards the MCG, hoping to find him sooner rather than later. As I walked through Fed Square and continued down towards the Yarra I saw him slowly walking towards me. He was looking a bit dazed and quite tired so we quickly made out way back to the station just as Vijay arrived in his taxi. I got out my wallet to pay for the fare but Vijay gave a smile that I’d seen a few times before and told me not to worry about it. I gave him the address and he sped off to Jared’s home. And that’s how my Good Friday began.
It would be fair to say that the last few weeks at Urban Seed have not always gone smoothly. Most days seem quite mundane and disjointed, but every so often we get to see a small glimpse of God’s Kingdom which helps us stay focused and motivated through the tougher times. It’s a real privilege to journey with such a unique group of people. I’m constantly reminded that each person’s story is important, as I’m challenged to spend that extra time listening instead of worrying about the next task. Thanks for supporting our team as we continue to create a place to belong for people from all walks of life in the middle of the world’s most liveable city.