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Archive for March, 2010

i took a breath

i went to kansas city from haiti for about 10 days. i needed to have a breath. i am grateful to be back here in haiti. please pray for a renewed heart for me.

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our neighbors

this is a piece that i wrote on feb. 20th.

feb. 20th

from the age of 10 or 11.  i have worked around the poor.  i do not say that to say in any way that i am something special.  i actually say that only to validate some of the harsh realities that i have seen in my life from a very young age.  things that i am not proud of, things that we as a human race should not be proud of. 

i realize this post may not win comments, there will be words that are mispelled.  maybe even after writing it, i will read it again and decide that i don’t want this to be what i publish at this time or what i want to be saved in all cyberspace eternity!  perhaps i will send it to my mom and then decide i shouldn’t share it.

at the age of 10 or 11, (i say that, because i don’t really remember exactly how old i was.)  i remember one day i went with my father to the local community center to drop off clothes.  i remember the corridor we walked down to take them to the deposit site.  i can smell the smells of the room even while i write this.  i remember the faces of the people who took them and said thank you.  there was another area where food was being distributed.  i was new to this small town in missouri, our family had moved from the metropolitan area of denver, colorado perhaps a year or so earlier.  

i remember leaving that place where i felt like i had seen poor people for the first time.  they were standing in a line to get food.  waiting to get clothing from the thrift store.  i remember leaving that day and asking my dad if he thought i could help those people do what they were doing.  i don’t know what went through my fathers head at that request.  but i know shortly after that day i started volunteering every monday at the Seventh Day Adventist Community Center.  

i have to say that my heart so often broken in that place. . . 

i saw mothers and fathers sit outside in their cars and smoke until it was time to come in to get food and they would pull their little ones along side them with their dirty diapers.

i would watch young mothers attempting to find something normal for their child to wear from the short supply of children’s clothes.

i sorted the donations brought in my well dressed upstanding business people and threw lots of it away because i knew it would only sit in the front until a few months later when i decided to sort again and get rid of stuff that i had seen for a few months.

i cried when we had meals together and laughed until we could hardly eat.  those meals were the best when they were made by alberta.

i sat with marsha and tried to figure out how we could truly make a difference for those who came every week or month.

i loved giving special things away around the holidays that had been made spefically for our patrons.  especially little gifts that perhaps a mother could take to her child when she didn’t have enough money to buy a present just for them.

i spent over five years volunteering there.  even as my life evolved and changed and i added different things to my schedule, even after i learned how to drive and we moved to a new building as the SDA.  i still enjoyed my time spent sorting, cleaning, arranging.

i think one of the hardest lessons i learned during that whole time is something that i continue to see all these years later as i continue to work with the poor.  it is only when those who consider themselves not to be poor that they reject the things they no longer want.  (oh, pardon me i mean they give with a tax free deduction).  

i will tell you what giving means.  it means that when you don’t know where your next meal is going to come from you still offer what you have to the person who showed up at your table.

it means that you take another person into your already full house even when you know they might be hard to get along with.

it means you are willing to go without something that makes you comfortable to make someone else comfortable. 

i have seen and learned that true giving from many people in my life.  many who have opened the doors to their homes, hearts and pulled up chairs at the dinner table for me.  

i pray that this whole earthquake in haiti.  will wake up the rest of the world that it isn’t the things that we reject that the rest of the world needs.  the reality is that “God is much more concerned that we know him and love him and treat our neighbors well than He is with. . .” i would say you could put whatever you want that we put above that fact in this blank.

love your neighbor as yourself.  haiti is 700 miles from the coast of Florida. . . america, canada, africa, world.  i hope we are all listening.

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back in kansas city

i am back in kansas city for a bit over a week.  i am very grateful for life.

i miss my bermuda matant (aunt in creole)  i made her put that headband on her head and then take a picture!!

thought it might make some people smile.

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