Thursday, February 28, 2013

no answers...

My heart weighs so heavily on me.
For her.
For them.
For all who find themselves trapped
On a track that never improves.
Where there is no "looking up"
or way out.

I love her.
I listen to her stories,
as she quickly scarfs down the homecooked meal
I've offered her.
She is so grateful to be a guest at my table.

Yet I feel that we are the true guests of honor.

I ask question after question.
I listen.
I yearn to understand.
It's almost beyond what I can bear.

I know pain.
But I don't know that pain.
I know poverty of spirit.
But I've never known that kind of poverty.

My head cannot wrap itself
around the experience
of what real life is to her.

To me, life has always felt
full of possibility,
Relatively fair.

But to her, life does not offer hope.
It doesn't change.
It doesn't get better.
It is what it is,
And survival is the aim.
It's dark.
And unjust.
And it stays that way.

She is evicted from her home,
her loved one behind bars
for selling drugs
to pay the rent
and the groceries
for the family to survive,
leaving a mother heartbroken
for her son.

The car was wrecked
from fleeing the police
They shattered the windows,
and little did they know
so much more was
being shattered.

So they joined together,
looking out for one other.
It would be selfish to "make it,"
when your brothers and sisters beside you
are starving.
One shoplifted
in order to feed the family.
Another flipped drugs.
More court dates.
More fines.

Where is the way out?, my heart cries.

My brain instantly seeks after a quick fix to offer her,
perhaps so I can take the burden off of myself
and cover the guilt
of my own ignorance.

But there are no quick fixes
to this level of brokenness.

Get a job!, the white community shouts.
Because that's how it works
so logically in our world,
doesn't it?
Oh, if only we could stop
the angry political tirades
And sit across the table
from my friend and her community
for an hour.

Suddenly the solutions wouldn't seem so simple,
would they?

Trust in Jesus!, the church shouts.
But I can't help but wonder
how is Jesus going to break through such
incredible brokenness,
systemic injustice,
when honestly?
Our churches can look more like
wealthy, white country clubs
than hospitals and rest stops
for messed-up sinners?

I know there is power in God's Word.
I know the Gospel to be true.
I know God to be good.

But my heart is so burdened.
And I wonder
how does
such amazing grace
transform my friend and "her people"?

I struggle to find any easy answers.

It used to be that these things
felt so utterly foreign,
Out there.
Heck, we even moved homes
to get away from those problems,
those people.

Deep down, we wanted lives and homes that are
free from that kind of neediness.
Places where we could
construct walls to divide ourselves
from one another's lives.

We prize our independence,
our hard work.
Our ability to move away and start again fresh.

But yet, it is OUR hearts that are FAR more
impoverished and fragmented
than theirs.

Poverty goes much deeper
than our piggy banks.

Hers is a community
that would give anything
for the well-being of those
around them.

Before we are so quick to judge,
before you think I have officially lost it,
might we slow down and consider for a minute
what it might be like
to be her?

There is too much food in my fridge.
There was none in hers.
As she ate, she probably wasn't just hungry from lunch.
She was hungry.
My home is filled with WAY more than I'll ever need.
My closet is extravagant.
(and I still want more!)
I can go when and where I please,
without much of a second thought.

I look at others around me.
I see the pictures on Pinterest.
Of what kind of life
I should seek to attain.
And it honestly makes me sick
to begin to see how blind we are
to those like her.
How little we care.
How little we're around it.

You see, I'm coming to realize that
what I've grown up to know as "normal"
should really be called what it is:


I don't have any answers right now.

Just alot of questions.

And a heart that wants to understand
and love,
and bring
true Hope
to my friend.


  1. perfect timing, just yesterday i was driving through a rough looking low-income neighborhood, right down the street from where the kids' school will be next year, baffled that i didn't even know this neighborhood was there, RIGHT THERE, and i was wondering what our/my role was, in that location, thinking about how Jesus says a LOT about the poor and i think about how rich people need Jesus too, and he talks about them too, but he sure says a lot about the poor...sounds like i need to open my table a little more frequently and listen to the people who sit at it...

  2. Ames....this is so powerful and so true. I, too, have no answers, but am praying for you and with you....and am striving to remember to be thankful for all that I've been given. Love you.