I have decided that I wanted to switch to a wordpress blog. Why? I’m not really sure beyond the fact that I wanted a change. It has been a while since I last blogged and it took some time to decide what to post as my opening post for the new blog. I decided to go with a few thoughts that went through my head a couple of nights ago.
I was at a leadership development training called “Denver Leadership Initiative”. There were several other leaders from the Denver area in attendance; many of whom I have heard a lot about through the grape-vine. They are leaders from places like Save Our Youth, Denver Rescue Mission, His Love Fellowship and many more. We had all heard that snow was expected that night and it wasn’t going to be a little flurry either. This one was supposed to be bad. 18″ of snow was expected to grace our streets by Saturday morning. The leaders from the Denver Rescue Mission were late getting to the event because they had to help secure emergency beds for the numerous homeless folks who were going to be exposed to the elements that night.
I’m not sure why, but I was struck by this more-so than before. It’s possible that maybe the 3 years of living in the city has made me callous to the sight of these homeless folks holding their signs on the street corner. Occasionally I’ll hand them some food. Sometimes I will be inspired to simply roll down my window and engage them in conversation, but honestly, most of the time I do what many others do; I look ahead or fidget with my radio until the light turns green.
That night I felt something disheartening. I felt true compassion for people that I didn’t know. I couldn’t help, but picture them trying to stay warm amid the treacherous storm and it truly broke my heart. I felt like God was giving me a clear, paint-by-number, example of what it means to allow my heart to break for the things that break His.
There are many forms of homelessness. Despite what some folks have heard, there are even many causes of homelessness. The homelessness that I see everyday looks drastically different than the image of those shivering in the snow. The homeless folks that I work with the most are kids. Kids who have had very little, if anything, to do with getting their family into the situation they are in. But, they still must endure the consequences. I thank God that the kids of Joshua Station can enjoy a snow-day rather than suffer because of it. I thank God that they have a support system in the midst of the chaos that they often feel. I thank God that several people around me have gotten to be better than I have at allowing their hearts to be broken for the “least of these” and have dedicated their lives to walking alongside these folks. I know that by doing the job that I do, I am in some way walking into the same story as those I admire so much, but I feel like I recently went through, yet another doorway that leads further into this life of intentionality among the poor.
It is often easier to ignore the pain around us or simply rationalize it than to allow our hearts to be broken by it. We don’t like pain. But, to truly walk in the footsteps of He who gives us life we must learn how to exist in this, often pain-ridden, world in as healthy fashion as possible. We must shine our light, however seemingly small the flame, to offer companionship, and even hope, to folks who’s lives often feel dark, lonely and hopeless.