The smallest taste of homelessness

Every year I teach my students what juxtaposition is.  It’s a big word for something we all do commonly: look at two things side by side.  We don’t necessarily compare them, but we certainly note differences.  Right now, I’m humbled to be part of a group of compassionate folks who are caring for a homeless family.  At the same time, I’ve just returned from a trip to the Midwest.  Let me point out the juxtaposition that struck me today.

I like traveling but some aspects get old really fast: carrying all our stuff around,  not having our usual beds and bathroom and home-y comforts.  Oh yes, let’s not forget the hours of waiting at an airport with little to do.  Was it worth it for who we visited?  A resounding YES!  However, this morning it struck me: these minor inconveniences were temporary!  That was chosen!  We were warmly greeted and fed and cared for and housed everywhere we went by amazingly wonderful people.  Though not flush with money, if there was a need, we could buy it.  We rented a car and they upgraded us- for free- to a 2014 model no less. We ate well and never wondered how that might happen.  Before, during and after, our family was keenly aware of the hand that gave us these gifts and we thanked Him often.

Today I’m humbled.  This homeless family is drifting….carrying around all their stuff, having need for essentials and not being able to buy it.  They have to ask for housing, for beds, for socks, for Pete’s sake!  The source of their meals is a question each day.  I can imagine that not everyone treats them solicitously.

Sometimes in our middle class world we forget those who are not as rich as we are.  And we are.  I’m guilty of it, too.  In fact, I think this is a blind spot of more of us has than we realize.  A song I’ve been listening to lately has this line: “When all you’ve got is nothing, there’s a lot to go around.” Since we all have a whole lot more than nothing,  why don’t we spread it around a little more liberally?  Answers usually point to looking out for our own, but God’s already doing that so the job’s taken.  When I was making the meal I’m sharing tonight, I felt Him ask me to do it for Him and I do so gladly – and I’m thankful for the opportunity.  In this Christmas season, I hope I can re-assert my belief in giving with an open hand….and doing so liberally.   Won’t you join me?