One of the most frequently viewed blog posts I wrote was 21 reasons I love Matt. I think it’s mostly people who are looking to make lists of reasons why they love their people and looking for some good ideas (unfortunately, i think my list might be a little bit too specific to help anyone –I am not sure how many people use “ambitious” to describe serious ultimate frisbee playing!)
Yesterday, a few of us organized an event at our church/coffee house called help-portrait. The gist of the event is that photographers come together to give photos to those who generally don’t have access to professional photography. Each person (subject? new friend?) that got their photograph taken will come back next week and pick up their free 8×10 or 5×7 photo.
A few of us sort of threw this event together- we we lucky to be contacted by some great local photographers who joined us. We sent out some emails to local social service agencies, shelters, and health centres. Our “advertising” if you can even really call it that, was incredibly last minute. So needless to say, we were a bit worried that we might not have too many people coming in to get their photo taken.
So this is why I bring up Matt. My husband. A bit of a late bloomer really, not responding to the DOZENS of emails sent out about Help-Portrait until the day before the event. The planning team was bombarded with emails from Matt. He was making phone calls, crafting registration sheets and printing and delivering posters. Like I said, a late bloomer. But little did we know that the next day…
Matt was one of the most important factors in making the day a success. As the clock stuck 11 am and we “opened for business” we waited for the people to flood in. Or, at least we waited for some.one.to.come.in.please.
Matt, dressed in a plaid shirt, well-worn jeans, and a grungy toque literally hit the streets. He went out side and just started to talk to people, to tell them about what we were up to and bringing them in for some coffee, snacks and a photo. He was ruthless- but in the gentlest way possible- other than the running towards families just minding their own business to “accost” them to come in.
By the time Matt and his new victim find made it in to the coffee house, it seemed like they were old friends, chatting and laughing.
The whole point of this post is to say that Matt is wonderful with people. He has a way of being unassuming, warm and safe. Last night, long after the event was over and we’d both been out to separate parties, he was telling me about how happy it made him to see person x enjoy getting their photo taken. I love Matt because he genuinely loves other people- especially people who life hasn’t been so kind to. Yesterday he taught me what authenticity looks like, what joy looks like, what pounding the pavement looks like. It’s a good thing Matt doesn’t adhere to fundamentalist notions of Christianity and that he didn’t grow up in a family where “witnessing” meant using a blowhorn; where it’s cool to handout flyers on the street corner urging people to “repent or beware of the flaming depths of hell”- because he would have been really scary effective at it. And that would have been awful.
Instead, he just smiled at strangers. Warmly welcomed people. Made no one feel inferior or “needy”. It was inspiring and I couldn’t have been more proud (or more grateful that I didn’t need to go out side and invite people in).
In the end, I think over 150 people came into FRWY and had their photograph taken. We saw newcomer families, single mothers and children, older men, couples, moms with teens, high school boys, and families dressed to the nines for their photos. It was an incredible day. I silently thanked God many times through out the day- for smiling faces, new friends, for my hipster husband, my dedicated friends and for sharing-sharing talents, resources, talents and cookies. It was a day alright. A great day. But at the end of it, I got to go home with Matt, my favourite person in the world.