So much is going on these days that sometimes it is hard to know what to write about. Life spins around us, politics divide us and affect/infect us, people are struggling financially while some are just decimated and have lost everything they have worked for. Earthquakes, tsunami’s, war and genocide tear the land. Tornadoes and floods have taken hundreds of lives in the last couple of months, and that is just in the South. Sometimes it seems like nature is lashing out. There are people all around us that are physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually just spent and tired. The only constant is that everything keeps changing. It is a difficult time in life for so many, and it is hard to witness people suffering and trying so hard, only to be let down or miss the mark.
My neighbors have lived in their house for years and years and years. My neighbor’s name was Cynthia, she and her son and her fiancée lived next door, they were good people and great neighbors. Cynthia’s father built that home himself sometime back in the 50’s; it is what she had left of her father that was tangible. She has lived there her entire life, never lived anywhere else. Cynthia lost her home to foreclosure. She and her fiancée both worked and they worked long hours. Still, in spite of it all, she lost her house and in many ways it was much more than just a house. I miss having them next door. Now I have foreclosed boarded up houses on both sides of me…it is sad.
I feel fortunate that my wife and I are okay. We still have tremendous struggles with a staggering amount of debt due to choices we had to make almost 2 years ago when we both lost our jobs at the same time. Regardless of the debt we still have jobs to go to, a home to come home to, and the reality is that we are okay in the midst of so much turmoil. My dogs (which are my babies) are healthy and happy, our cats are fine and my wife and I have a solid relationship. I say all this because one thing I have been realizing lately is that how fortunate I am in spite of how I sometimes feel. Could it be that way for many people out there right now? I don’t know, but I chose to shift my focus from what I didn’t have and instead start focusing on what I did have. It helped me tremendously…
I believe that the heart of Christ is with the poor and the less fortunate. Those that are absolutely beat up and broken by the life that rages around them. I believe that we encounter the life of Christ when we reach out and offer help to those around us in whatever ways we can. It happens in countless ways, a smile, hug or handshake. Giving a beggar a couple of bucks regardless of what they will spend it on, volunteer work, charity work, supporting a musician as they pre-sale orders for upcoming projects, that is after all how they support themselves. I’m a member of the human race; I’m tired of division in the church due to politics and bad theology. Maybe it can all be summed up in these words… “The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God, AND to love your neighbor as yourself.” Those are powerful, powerful words. They transcend race, religion, politics, gender, sex and every other label or category. To quote the guy who spoke at church last week, “We are all just beggars trying to show other beggars where to get a bite of food.” Love… it’s the only thing that will endure.