Connecting with Community

Friday, October 11, 2013

Homeless Day three

I wake in the city of Waco once more but this time in a King-size bed at the local upscale hotel. I have just experienced a day with God at the conference I attended. I am amazed at so many Lifechangers attempting to love one another. The group is diverse and many denominations are represented. Because I love people I don’t care what church you go to. We had the opportunity to worship together, pray together, love together, eat together and cry together. At my table sit Catholics, Baptist, non-denominational and there is even a Pentecostal in the mix. I am certain this is what heaven will be like.
I arrived the day before to a not so upscale hotel. We pulled in around midnight and I was a little bothered when I saw the place, I would be staying for the night. First of all I had to open my own door, there was no concierge, there was no one to take my bags up to my room and I definitely would not be asking for the top floor because three were only two floors.
I walk in to my room and inspect every corner. I quickly begin browsing the web for more suitable accommodations. I doze off complaining and wake up complaining of my undesirable surroundings. I call downstairs and inform the nice receptionist that I would not being staying here the rest of my time in Waco.
I get ready and head downstairs. I glance over the meager items of food. There is no way I am eating their food I will have to make do with dry cereal. Apparently I have forgotten, the last time I was here I slept on the sidewalk in the rain and I had no choice of food.
During my last adventure here I met a young girl that was also going through this thing we call Poverty Simulation. We had just a few moments together but because she was the same age as my little girl I felt the need to make sure she was ok. I asked her how she felt about not having anything to eat. I asked her how she felt about having to sleep outside on a table.
She replied, “it’s no different than home”. My heart hurt. This young girl was part of a leadership team from the inner city in the town she was from. That this would be normal to a child is just beyond me. We have 16 million children living in poverty in our country. That means 4 out of ten children are struggling to have their basic needs met. I am thinking that is not ok with me and yet I complain because the hotel is not up to my standards.
As I go through this conference I am reminded that we have the ability to change the world. We have the ability to make a difference if only in just one person. We just get so caught up on blame that we forget about Isaiah 61, Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25. We forget that we were all “created in His image. We forget that we were all “wonderfully and beautifully made”. Some people just have the luxury of being w born into a family with lots of money.
I remember walking twenty two blocks to finish off the last leg of this simulation. Finally I arrived to this thing called “Church Under the Bridge”, I noticed church buses and church vans coming in, in droves. As I walk past these groups, I hear a pastor tell his group, “mingle get to know the homeless”. I ignore and find my way to the place where water was being distributed. I cut in line and grabbed water for my family. I found a place to sit and watch as all the people around us are eating breakfast. We have been instructed not to partake of the food that was being distributed. At this point my hurt is turning into anger. Sitting in all my emotions, a young man that looks like a pastor, whatever that means. Approachs me and I instantly know he is going to try to “get to know me”. He is going to try and find out how I ended up homeless. He didn’t get the chance.
My heart cried out, “No sir, you don’t get to come play church on Sunday. I needed you Yesterday and Saturday and Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday. You don’t get to play church on Sunday. I was so broken. My spirit is crushed at the mere thought that humans would treat humans in this way. During this “walk of mine” others had no regards for me. They did not see me as human. I stand here at this “Church Under the Bridge a little less than human. I am reminded of what I told Jacob before I left. I said don’t worry about me honey, there is a church at every corner and my middle class family of faith will see me through. I am standing here in all my nothingness completely empty and no my family of faith has not seen me.
In the background the music begins to play and these are the words I hear. He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane I am a tree bending beneath the weight of this wind and mercy. When all of the sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by Glory and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me
Oh how He loves me so oh how oh He loves me …..I stand crying uncontrollably being changed by the undeniable love my Savior has for me. Even in all my nothingness. A beautiful lady standing next to me reaches to hug me and she softly whispers “girl I love you”. Out of her lack she gave the most. We stand united just two empty homeless women. No vanity, no judgment, we stand completely empty waiting to be filled with His mercy and grace.
I walk away filled with love so much that it doesn’t fit in my being. I leave a different person. I leave understanding homelessness and I am sad that I get to go home and my new friends don’t have a home to go home to.