WELCOME FROM HAYWOOD STREET:
Check out this WLOS spotlight on the Haywood Street Fresco!
Registration is now open for the Golf for Awareness. A link to the registration page can be found HERE along with updated information about all our wonderful event sponsors. Thank you all for your support!
3. Bible study. prayer & contemplation held Sundays, 12:30-2:00, outside with Pastor Jody. All are welcomed to attend.
4. Worship: Wednesdays at 12:30 in the parking lot
1. Sign up to provide a meal for Respite here
A HAYWOOD STREET REFLECTION BY: SHANNON
When I was asked to share about how I landed at Haywood Street, my eyes widened and I let out a slow breath, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sum it up in a few simple paragraphs. This story begins way before I ever laid eyes on Haywood Street. My entire life has haphazardly revolved around the pursuit of God. This seeking has taken me around the world, thwarted whatever plans I had for my life, led to much joy and suffering and continually explodes my heart each time I have the chance to experience the expansive level of love and assistance we have at our fingertips. For reasons unknown and undeserved, I was given a mystical life raft to cling to throughout the tumultuous tides of 2020, that allowed me to come to Asheville, North Carolina. When Covid hit, my entire industry came to a screeching halt and as crazy as this sounds, if I had not heeded a prompting from the Holy Spirit back in 2017 to: get out of debt, straighten out my finances, work on my health because “you’ll need to be ready to go,” I would have found myself entirely underwater this past year. It was so clear, I dared not ignore it. To me now, it was an obvious gift given that I didn’t want to squander, especially when so many others had not been so lucky or prepared. I spent my quarantine in solitude, turning my little apartment into a monastery. My daily prayers revolved around the ways in which I could be of service during the second half of my life. Here I am! I began looking into programs that would bring me back into closer contact with the natural world and allow for a slower pace of existence, quickly finding something in North Carolina. A simple handwritten letter of inquiry was sent and a response was received soon after. They mentioned one of their apprentices had dropped out at the last minute, and that I was welcome to fill the spot, as soon as possible. Without much time to deliberate, I sold most of my possessions, vacated my apartment and immediately began to panic over whether or not I was making the right decision. The fear and doubt rose like a tidal wave, drowning me in thoughts of how I was far too old to start over so drastically, that I wouldn’t be able to afford this being out of work with no foreseeable contracts on the horizon…and then the crippling idea of getting back into debt (when I had spent so much time working to finally get out of it). Yet again, I found myself praying, but this time much more flippantly. “I’m willing to do what you ask of me, but you know I haven’t worked much this year due to the shut-downs, if you want me to go to this school, you have to pay for my tuition.” Well, God answered. A new client contacted me the next day, out of nowhere, to ask if I was available for a 2-day job, at a day rate I had never even come close to making…those 2 days paid for my tuition. I was en route. I came with the expectation of learning a set of various outdoor skills that I could build upon to serve those around me; what I wasn’t expecting was bumping into Haywood Street while wandering the city looking for a coffee shop.
The first thing I noticed about Haywood street were the amount of people and pigeons everywhere. Everything felt alive and bustling. Growing up as the “black sheep” I’ve always had an affinity for pigeons. The world may view them as an unsightly nuisance, but to me they represent the glory and triumph of the underdog. Through much adversity, they’ve managed to thrive outside of their natural habitat. As excellent navigators, they can always find their way back home and have the ability to recognize who they are. They are incredibly social and love to interact, which makes more sense for the ones at Haywood Street with a motto like, “Relationship above all else.” The world has a hard time tolerating things that it doesn’t understand. I find that pigeons, as well as people, are oftentimes easily misunderstood…but when people are misunderstood and thrown to the margins they tend to forget who they are (unlike our pigeon friends). It was very clear to me that Haywood Street was a place of remembrance to all people that have forgotten…forgotten that we are of the beloved, loved as we are and not as we should be.
Brook was the first person I met. She gave me a tour of the building. As she showed me all of the rooms and explained to me what their specific purposes were, my heart began to explode. I felt the spirit of God everywhere, it was so overwhelming that I couldn’t keep tears in, I kept trying to wipe them away when Brook wasn’t looking. I was told that if I chose to serve that I wasn’t a volunteer but a companion, and that relationships are an exchange where both parties are giving, receiving and benefitting. This all made complete sense to me. There was no hierarchy of the perceived perfected vs. the dusty struggler. We were one in the same, covered by the transformative power of grace. I was asked to work in the clothing closet a couple of times before I had to head back home. Folks came to me with a list of items they needed, then I would go and collect the best pieces that I could find. You would have thought I was personal shopping for an A-list celebrity and that’s how I wanted to treat it. This simple task brought me so much joy! I snuck in hugs and any extras I could find in order to make everyone feel adored. When Brook asked if I would give a thought or two about being part of the Holy Chaos family, I first looked at the definition of each word. Holy meaning – dedicated to God; sacred. Chaos meaning – complete disorder and confusion. The formless matter supposed to have existed before the creation of the universe. I couldn’t help but let out a huge laugh. Isn’t that just typical of God, creating sacred confusion to all of the ways of this world. Without even realizing, my life has already been a dedication to and a part of the Holy Chaos family. May the spirit of God continually turn our ways upside down, bring us home to the sacred and bring us back to who we are, the beloved. (And may the pigeons help me find my way back to Haywood Street again soon!)