Monday, May 19, 2008

Just another night in the ghetto

I really do love my neighborhood.

I was late to church tonight, of course. As I was walking from my car a man called out to me and asked for money. I told him the truth, I didn't think I had any cash on me. After looking through my purse I told him I was sorry, I didn't have anything. Oh a whim, I asked if he wanted to come to a church service. He said he really just wanted to find something to eat, he hadn't in two days. I told him I'd check in my car but I couldn't guarantee anything. While we walked back to my car he told he he was trying to find a job but was having trouble because he just got out of jail. I told him Our House had some kind of work program but he said he'd tried that but wasn't able to find a job in the required time period so they kicked him out of the program. I gave him a handful of quarters that my mom had given me for laundry. I told him it wasn't much but it was my laundry money. He hesitated and asked if it was going to mess me up. I told him I could hand wash what I needed. He thanked me and I told him he was welcome to come to Epoch if he ever wanted to. He repeated the time and location and we parted ways.*

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. - Edmund Burke

After church I went to the car wash. A man approached me and asked if he could help. I declined, telling him I'd rather do it myself and that I kinda enjoyed it. He laughed and said he wished he saw more women like that. I said my daddy taught me right, he said he wished his dad had done that. He walked away, still chuckling, repeating "Yeah, I wish I saw more women like that."

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.
- Emily Dickinson

*During church I replayed this in my mind, wondering if I did the right thing or what I could have done differently. Should I have skipped church and gotten him something to eat? Probably. Maybe I should have told him I'd get him whatever he wanted if he'd come to church with me (there's something sketchy about that, despite my genuine intentions).

I keep saying I'm going to keep granola bars or something in my car for situations like this, but I've let that slide. Giving someone cash is risky, so tonight I decided to get some grocery store gift cards to keep in my wallet. If you'd like to donate to drc's love-your-neighbor-gift-card fund, feel free :).

$10...a movie, or a meal for someone who hasn't eaten in 2 days?

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.
- Albert Einstein

We sang this today:

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what is yours
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.

To honestly pray that takes courage and faith, but in the words of William Carey, "Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God."
(Thanks to Dr. Carter for that one)

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