Connecting with Community

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My heart hurts

 I arrive to a stack of folders, emails and messages. All from people seeking a better way of life. All searching for an opportunity to earn a living wage. Education is what they are in search of but they just can't verbalize it yet.

 Later that day I have lunch with a new friend. I met her when she started contributing to our cause. I arrive late and she doesn't seem to mind. While enjoying our meal we begin to converse. I notice that she seems uncomfortable. I would even say embarrassed. We continue our conversation and I sense she is becoming more uneasy by the minute. My heart takes hold and I begin to understand what it is, I have seen this many times.

 I change the conversation by sharing my story. I speak of the times I was in need and she begins to cry. I know it is not my story that brings those tears. I am certain now that need is present. I ask how I can help. She begins to tell me that she is a proud college graduate and she is certain that no one else has gone through what she is facing. I assure her she is wrong.With much shame she speaks of her need and I assure her that there is other proud college graduates that have been through the same thing. I tell her those other proud college graduates will answer her cry for help.

 On my way back to my office I make a quick stop at one of our local Life Changing churches. They truly practice what they preach, "to do unto the least of these". I stop to thank them for funds and like always take the time to share a story. I tell them of our single mother of three. I explain that she was abandoned by her husband. I mention how well she is doing in school and I thank them for providing the funds that will reinstate her electricity and water. Before I leave I assure them that they are building capacity for those in need.

 I arrive at my office and another Neighbor is waiting for me. I inform her that a Life Changer has gifted her funds to have her utilities reinstated. She is overwhelmed and so am I. The thought of good Samaritans in this day and age caring for someone they don't know. Through her tears she says she wishes she could do something to repay us. I tell her she can. I tell her to graduate and someday she will be able to help someone like she has been helped. She assures me she will.

My heart is full. She leaves and I begin to go through my emails. I open one and immediately wish that I had not. As I read I feel as if a dagger has pierced my heart. This email is different it hurts in a different kind of way.

You have to remember most of the time I live in a fairytale. A place where people don't say no when asked to help others. A place where people care about each other just because they are people. A place where everyone I am surrounded with gives of there excess so others can succeed. A place where the elderly are honored and respected.
A place where children are feed when they are hungry. A place where "every child has the right to be prepared to go to college". A place where the battle on Poverty is being won.

Sometimes I forget that not everyone wants to be good and decent to each other. Well this email reminded me that not everyone lives in my fairytale. This gentlemen wanted me to know that not everyone wanted to help "Lazy people".

I sit with my face in my hands and I think of what I should reply. Ugliness is beginning to take over. My fingers swoosh across the keyboard and on the screen a clever reply is forming. A reply that will not only pierce this gentleman's heart but it will make him feel as if I am twisting  the dagger as I insert it.  And just when he thinks I am done I would add another small line in my reply. One that would allow him to feel as if I jerked the dagger back out only to pierce it again. Almost instantly I am reminded of grace and mercy, that is granted to me daily. I am moved to hit delete.

I try to explain to God that I merely want to share with this fellow.
I want to share with him the story of my big blue eyed curly haired three year old little girl.
I want to invite him to spend the day with me. Just one day and while in the mist of these
"Lazy People". I will ask him to pick one, just one child that he would refuse food to.
I want to invite him to go meet "Lazy Joe" a Neighbor that would wake at midnight 6 days a week to walk two hours to catch a bus to work. I will explain how on "Lazy Joes" day off he would get up early to stand at man labor to find more work. I will also mention that for two of those months "Lazy Joe" did all this with a broken foot.

I am certain that "I will do all the good I can. By all the means I can. In all the ways I can. At all the times I can. To all the people I can. As long as I can".

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