Connecting with Community

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?

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