Connecting with Community

Friday, July 26, 2013


Forgive my writing errors as I am in the back seat of a minivan headed to Waco.
I wake to run with my little girl. I take a peek outside and notice that a rain storm has just come through. I whimper as I run because I am experiencing a bit of mugginess.  I run around a local pond and I am disgusted that it has flooded my running trail. When I am done my shoes are completely soaked and it isn’t long before I begin to whine at the discomfort of pond water in my shoes. I take my shoes off and I am quickly in a frenzy because my toe polish has a chip. I reach for my phone and it is dead, this causes me to get up and head to my car. I reach my car and I am reminded that my car charger is in my other car. Wow what a way to start my day so full of myself and my stuff. Hmm I wonder if I am the only one.
Today will be a day full of errands; I have some yogurt and baby carrots that were donated by a wonderful group of people. So most of my day will be taken by distributing these goods, I decide to distribute the items to families I haven’t seen in a while. I go by Ms. Emma’s home and I knock on her door and her little one rushes to open for me. I smile and ask how he is, he replies “good thank you.” I ask “is your momma here?” He nods yes. I see her as she enters the room and I ask if she would like some carrots and yogurt. She smiles and begins to cry. My heart melts as I can see that God has sent me at this appointed time. Maybe to remind me that it’s not all about me. Maybe to remind me that there are issues bigger than my wet shoes or my chipped nail polish.
Then she goes on and says that her little one has been sick and she hasn’t worked much this month because so many are out on their yearly vacation. She says “we were down to our last yogurt cup”. I smile trying not to cry, she softly continues with “I have been praying and asking God to supply our needs”. I feel empty as just a few moments earlier my need was a charger so I could get on Facebook just so I could whine about my wet shoes.
I asked what else she needed and she bowed her head in shame. I explain that we all need help some time and she went on to say that she was worried that one of her utilities was going to be cut off because she hadn’t worked enough this month and she knew she would not have the funds to pay what she owed. Wasn’t I just crying about mugginess?
I stand amazed at the 10 year old little boy that will have no fun in the sun, he will have no vacation, and he will not have new clothes for school but yet when asked how he was he replies with “good”.  If it could be that we all had that attitude of gratefulness. I am hit with this morning’s ungratefulness. Instead of being grateful for the rain, my shoes,  and my ability to enjoy a morning run I was ungrateful.
We have many beautiful people in our community that are seeing that all her needs are met and I am GRATEFUL to live in a community where we still look after our neighbors.
I couldn’t sleep last night knowing this morning I would join a group of six and head towards Waco. We will be homeless for three days and experience the life of those that have very little. We have been on the road for about 7 hours now and my worry grows with every mile. I begin to ask God to teach me to teach us how to be better to each other regardless of how much money we have, regardless of what neighborhood we live in, regardless of what car we drive and regardless of what color we are. Yes and please remind me to be grateful.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I find myself working late and to be honest it is not something rare. Looking for a stopping point and it proves difficult as I am working on gathering clothes for 30 little people. I look at their names and then their ages. These are children that are living in one of the deepest kinds of poverty. They are living smack dab in the center of the war zone of poverty. They are constantly surrounded by criticism and judgment and they are under the impression that they are in this fight alone.
I look up and the clock reads 8:00 pm.  I glance out my picture window and notice I am losing light. My office window is a picture frame of the park across the street. A glimpse of Gods art work makes me smile inside. The clean trees stand at attention and the grass sparkles like jewels. Obviously we have been blessed with rain from heaven. I scan as far as my eyes can see and there is no one in sight.
 There is no movement, the park benches and the picnic tables are empty. My evening protectors are nowhere to be found. The rain has caused them to leave their roofless home and scatter where shelter may be abundant. My thoughts; what do they feel? Are they anxious? Are they stressed? Are they worried?
Well I will confess I may know a little more about their feelings than what I am leading on. I have signed up to go through a poverty simulation which will allow me to experience firsthand what it is to live on the streets alongside the homeless population. I am nine days away and I am anxious of where I will sleep stressed of what I will eat and so worried that I will not make friends. Even though I am hosting a team of 5 I feel like I’m in this alone.
I have heard rumors that I will have to turn in all my belongings including my clothes. My vanity creeps in at the thought of having to wear unwashed thrift shop clothing. I cringe. The rumor is that I will be able to choose only 4 items from my personal belongings and I have a list of 37 items I need daily. At this point you are probably thinking what a horrid person I am but if we all did a little self-reflection you may not look much different than me.
It didn’t take long to gain this new trait. I think it’s called “survival” as I am already thinking of how I can sneak a credit card just in case it gets too hard. I am scoping out the closest Hilton. I even thought of calling ahead and prepaying for food just in case. Yes I am being deceitful and I do not condone it but at this point I understand it.
As I work hard to prepare and plan it hits me. I am leaving a wonderful workplace, my supportive family, my full fridge, my reliable SUV, my room with soft green walls and the comforter on my comfy bed. I keep saying its only three days all this will be over in three days.
Then my heart speaks loudly. I instantly hurt with the reality that our community has 1560 homeless children and they experience the same feelings I am having and they don’t have the luxury of saying that this will be over in three days. I get to go home…………..
What can we do to remove the shame and rebuild hope?