i know that is probably the world’s worst blog post title, but honestly i just wanted to get down here where i can write about what i mean by it. it just needs to come tumbling out!
i have always had a soft spot towards the homeless and those in need. really anyone in need, but in this scenario, those living without a stable home base. i really have a hard time seeing people sleeping on the ground or knowing that they probably live in constant fear for their next meal or even for their life.
but lately, i have been basically beside myself when i see someone shivering outside my window, barely able to make eye contact, waiting for someone to have mercy on them as they stand in wet clothes from the rain. how little they have and how much i have. it is so cold in missouri in the winter. it’s this bitter, wet cold that seeps into your bones and takes me a solid two hours to warm back up after coming in from outside. so to see someone outside in it? it’s devastating.
i have just had this on my heart a lot lately. then last night i was reading ‘rising strong’ by brene brown (great book by the way) and she has a section about exactly what i have been feeling.
she was at an event and the man said the following line,
“when you look away from a homeless person, you diminish their humanity and your own.”
the reason that line is even more profound than just because of what it says is because that is something i have been sitting on for the last 5 years. when i was in high school, a youth group leader once told me that it is not up to me to judge what someone will do with the food, money or clothes i offer them. it is just up to me to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of the sick – and god can judge. in fact, He is the only one that can judge.
we talked about how we need to see Jesus in them. they are not worthy of having us avert our eyes just because they are dirty or make us uncomfortable. they are the image of Jesus just as much as any of us are. we deserve them, at the very least, eye contact.
so to read that in brene brown’s book this many years later was so impactful and especially lately i have been even more aware of how i treat people with so little and what i can offer them.
at this point you’re probably like literally where are you going with this, ania?
what i wanted to share is that i think i figured out why it’s been so heavy on me lately. as i have tried this “minimalist” lifestyle of really trying to detach myself from material items, that mindset has spread into so many other areas of my life in such a positive, unexpected way. this story is one example.
i think i am just really seeing them in their need as i have gotten rid of the excess i had lived in and have really honed in on what matters, what i need. yes, i still like to spend money on pleasures and clothes but i am 100000% more intentional. and i want to give just as much as i get.
i just realized reading last night that a big shift in my heart happened somewhere in the last couple of months between all the clothing purges and even in the last week as i have wrestled (in a good way) with my new year’s resolution of rerooting my identity. gosh, i am almost getting emotional thinking about this unexpected grace. who would’ve known that getting rid of garbage bags of clothing would in turn affect you like this?
and i really want to do something about it.
if you are local to the st. louis area, i would love if anyone has any suggestions for places to donate meals, food, clothing or time.
p.s. if you want to read more about ‘the great purge of summer 2016’ as my friend, mom and i fondly call it, you can read the series in part i, part ii and part iii. also read the book seven by jen hatmaker. that’s what really did me in.