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Homeless in the city…

I joined the university kids for The Lord’s Table sandwich run ministry downtown yesterday. It’s been a while since the last time I’ve spent a night directly in contact with the homeless.

Many of them were lying up against the office buildings. The images of cardboard shelters, tired looking faces, and dirty hands – against the backdrop of office cubicles and flat screen monitors lit by fluorescent lighting, burned in my mind. It is insanity that such a thin piece of glass divides the sanitized corporate world from the stained reality that surrounds it.

At least they have blinds. That way, office workers can get back to the task at hand when the lights and sights that invade cause any form of uneasiness.

The truth is that it’s supposed to rob us of our peace of mind. We are designed to naturally feel tormented in our gut when encountering other human beings in distress. Suffering has a face, and poverty has a name.

That night his name was Vince and I could feel in my bones that God had created him for so much more. I tried to be a voice of hope, but I knew that I was up against years of him having accepted his place in life. I’d like to think that as our team of four sat around him and let him speak his mind and listened to him, for a moment in time, he experienced validation as a human being, respect, and even love.

I find it fascinating how in this early career stage of life, it is often difficult scheduling a time to meet up with other busy friends. Yet with those on the streets, I left with a sense that I could count on them being there anytime I chose to visit. There’s something wrong with that, in more ways then one.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Alan Liu September 5, 2004, 6:17 pm

    Dude, there’s going to be a reconciliation between the rich and the poor in God’s Kingdom. I feel it, I read it and though I don’t know much about it, it’s a part of my future. And seems like yours too. Eyes on the prize, fellow pioneer!

    Alan

  • eBrian September 6, 2004, 8:47 pm

    I’ve always had this fear, of going on a sandwich run and running into one of the many homeless people that I walk past (and ignore) every night when I walk home from work to the subway. Every day I pass these people, not sure what to say or do. What if I ran into these same people during a charity run, how would they react? It would seem so… fake.

  • Element B September 15, 2004, 2:37 am

    ah.. they won’t remember you anyway

  • Rae May 24, 2005, 12:19 pm

    Ah, but the point is that you hope one day they “wake up” and realize that life doesn’t have to be this way for them, and that they *won’t* be there next time you visit.

    Homeless people break my heart, even though I’m guilty of shying away from them sometimes.

    But yes, they do remember you. Some of them do, at least.

    You did well, and it will take immense investment in other people just to see a tiny spark sometimes. That’s what God does for us each and every day.

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