"Even In Laughter The Heart May Ache, And Joy May End In Grief."
Yesterday I spent part of the day blog hopping, work was slow and I wanted to catch up with my bloggy friends.
I miss all you guys so much and I hate feeling like I can't get back to each of you, I am trying, slowly but surely.
I came across some new blogs, blogs that caused my heart to feel heavy, so much pain out there, so much unnecessary sadness.
Children sick, on the verge of death, people who can't put food on their table, spouses abandoning their families on a whim etc...
So much suffering, which brought back a conversation I had a while back with someone at Church on one of my nights to feed the homeless.
T is a homeless woman, a little woman, I would say no more than 4'9, then again compared to my 5'10 almost every woman is pretty much little.
She is filthy when she comes in to the Church, her clothes are in a dire need of a washing, she reeks of alcohol, she is demanding with her food, the way it is dished on her plate and not entirely grateful, yet for some reason, she makes me smile.
Her face is weathered from being out in the Florida sun all day, tan but wrinkled and she always has a smile, even when she is demanding.
She is kind to me, so in turn I am kind to her.
I see her around town every so often on the back of her boyfriends' (he is homeless as well) bicycle.
He isn't always nice to her and we have had to call the police to the Church a few times because of it.
One Tuesday, I walked in to get ready for the feeding and she was already in the Church, sitting in a corner, on a chair, shoeless and sad.
No smile today, no wave, no acknowledgement of anyone around her.
Just a lost look in her eyes and a sad look on her face.
No one said anything to her, just went about their business getting ready before we could let anyone in.
I debated if I should go to her and then walked over.
I said hi to her, she looked up at me and I realized then that she was crying.
I kneeled down and asked her what was wrong, was there anything I/we could do?
Her boyfriend had hit her, something she was obviously used to, something she expected by what she said to me, something she was okay with.
It isn't okay, I told her, never, regardless of the circumstances, is it okay for one human to hit another. (Man/woman, it just doesn't matter, keep your hands to yourself)
We talked for a little bit while the people I worked with got ready, I didn't feel I could leave her and that is where He wanted me, the kitchen staff would have to do without me.
She didn't want prayer, she just wanted an ear, so I listened and as I listened, I looked into her weathered face, I could see some wise years in her face. She lived a hard life and it showed, yet she was okay with that, she wasn't bitter nor angry, just sad.
The homeless were starting to enter the Church and she seemed to be done talking, so I stood up, took her hand, pulled her into a standing position and hugged her.
At first she stiffened, but that didn't last long, she returned the hug tightly, looked into my face, smiled and went to get some food.
As I turned to enter the kitchen, I noticed one of the workers looking at me oddly, yet I didn't think anything of it.
I had work to do, so I did the feeding and afterwards, I went to sweep/mop because there is a board meeting directly after we feed the homeless in the same area of the Church.
As I was working, I overheard someone say something about "touching" one of those people.
Now, you know I am a non-confrontational person, I will go out of my way to avoid conflict just because I don't like drama, nor do I have any use for it.
I didn't know where the comment had come from, nor who had said it, all I know is the words cut deeply to my core.
"One of those people" as if she wasn't worthy of human touch, as if she is a leper, unworthy of human contact.
I felt deeply ashamed that these words came from someone in my Church, a Christian who is there to feed the homeless, yet throws those little darts out.
What if T had heard that?
What if that was her last meal in that Church, because she felt she wasn't welcome there either?
I am thinking I would probably already feel like the world was against me if I was in her position.
Guess what, I already am in her position.
Technically I am homeless as well, I just don't sleep on a street, by His grace and mercy, my parents live here and I am just a little luckier than she is.
Does that make me better than her?
Not by a long shot.
Does that make you better than me?
Not at all.
None of us is better than the other, some of us are just luckier.
Just because your house is bigger, you drive a better car, have more money in the bank etc...Doesn't make you better.
It should make you more grateful, it should open your eyes up to the world around you, to show you just what you have that others don't.
However, for most of us, it doesn't.
I had to be stripped of almost everything before my eyes were opened and I would truly hate for any of you to experience what has befallen me.
Pure goodness has come out of my pain though, empathy in spades for others who have even less than I do, compassion for the underdog, a protectiveness I never knew I had, a deep desire to protect others who can't help themselves.
Yet, even I know I can't do it alone, everyone has to come out of their "selves" and pitch in.
I am sorry to say, but life is not just about you.
Shocking, I know, so I will take this moment to pause while you actually let that sink in.
Okay I will continue.
This is going to be aimed at my Christian brothers and sisters...
I want you to read the following Scripture, read it, let it sink in...
James 2:14-17 "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
Romans 14:13-17 "Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
Pretty powerful words there my friends.
Not hard to put into place though, help your fellow man, bridge the gap between you and them.
God blessed you in a way to share with others, you aren't supposed to hoard your blessings.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
I don't think this is entirely about "money", seeing as He provides everything for us.
I don't have much in the way of money, yet I have been blessed with time for others, an ear if someone needs it, a shoulder to cry on, a prayer if it is needed etc...
Whatever He has blessed me with, I try my hardest to share with others, that is how we are all supposed to be.
Do you know of a bridge that needs a gap filled?
Step out of "self" my friends, before it is too late.
Father Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours
Give Me Open Hands And Open Doors
Put Your Light In My Eyes And Let Me See
That My Own Little World Is Not About Me