Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Warring Within Myself

I eye the clock in my car's dashboard.


Shoot!  The kids would be getting off the bus in 5 minutes and I am just pulling out of the grocery store's parking lot!

I dial a neighbor and ask her if she minds having them at her house as I work on getting home.

Crisis averted.

And then I see her.

I'd seen her before, in almost identical circumstances.  Me - harried and desperately trying to arrive home on time for the older kids, baby crying in the back.

Like before, I mentally implore her to avoid making eye contact with me.

And again, like before, she ignores my petitions to look elsewhere and stares right at me, watching my car turn with eyes accusing me of being just like the rest.

I see your sign.  I want to acknowledge you, to give you some semblance of human dignity and make a show that I really do care, because I do!

I really don't have the time.

I'd love to help you meet your needs, the ones you advertise on your cardboard plea.

I'm really strapped for cash myself.

And at that, I'm haunted.  Scared that I have become that woman who now sees nothing but her family and their needs.  Memories surface of times past when I had made time for those who were downtrodden, and of work that served these same folks.
Doesn't help that I later turned to the following passage in Scripture:
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.

What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. -Isaiah 10:1-4
I try to tuck these moments away and avoid dealing with them for now.

A few weeks later.

Sunday, Seth and I went to a new class being offered this quarter at our church.  It's based upon the video series The Hole in Our Gospel produced by World Vision.

The basic premise is that we have, especially in the U.S., seemingly forgotten all of God's commands to care for the poor and needy meanwhile, we are pursuing more material comforts and conveniences than ever before.  While the video isn't meant to guilt someone into compassion, it does call one to check their attitudes and try to see with new eyes what is around one's world.

The following quote is a spin on Matthew 25:35-36, with the italics indicating common American responses, [as interpreted by the author]:

For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.'
- Richard Stearns
So yesterday I got to process, verbally, a lot of what has been rolling around in my head with all of these issues, and that helped.  Immensely.

And I had a summary of my thoughts here, but the internet just ate them - so I'll get them up later today.  Pinkie Swear!!!

To be Cont'd.....

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