sound a little differnt & have made some differnt choices than me. I started to wonder if how Jesus talked in the Bible about loving others, taking care of others, feeding & clothing those who didn't have it & how everyone was made in the image of God (therefor deserving of the dignity & respect I showed my loved ones) what if all those weren't just feel-good words to take into consideration? What if we were actually supposed to take them ,like, literally? What if we were supposed to live like we believed them? Would I then need to become a radical & sell all I own & move to another country? Would we need to start a mobile soup kitchen out of the back of our minivan? How would that even work? Do people at T-ball games even need soup? Seriously what would people think? Would they think we've let a whole lot of crazy out or would they recognize the desire on their own hearts to do something?
Our family started to think that maybe for us it meant a little more than just sending a monthly check to World Vision for our sponserd girl in Myanmar. Maybe it also meant we sashay a little into some uncomfortable situations so that others might benefit or at least so we could try to figure out what it meant for us to love others. Maybe it meant we give our sleeping bags away so that on that very night someone may be a little warmer regardless of what we would do come summer time & our annual camping trip. Maybe it meant that instead of getting upset with our boys & fretting about their sense of entitlement when it came to goldfish crackers or fruit strips at snack time that we take a pizza to some homeless people so that our kiddos might gain a bit of a different perspective.
Being a mom of two young boys I know a bit about imperfections. How the ever present crumbs on the table & the floor can be enough to drive you cuckoo-bananas or it could be just enough to remind you that life is being lived right in front of you. So can the needs you see & hear about in your community. They can appear so huge that you are immobilized into doing nothing just frozen by their sheer greatness. Or you can choose to see each one bit by bit as a tangible need you & others can meet. The homeless drop-in center for teens wants board games? Great, haven't ever played that cribbage game stuck in the back of the closet, like ever. Some working poor people need some sensible shoes? Great, I have a pair that would work. Wait. Am I crying about getting rid of them because they are a pair I like & are pretty cute? Give yourself some grace. Just because you are shedding a few tears doesn't mean that you are a selfish or self-absorbent person (at least that is what I told myself). It may mean you just came face-to-face with the realization that you have a choice. Each time you reach out, you love others, you see others you are choosing to put yourself a little lesser. There are some growing pains in that as it doesn't come naturally to us. It is the opposite of everything we see & hear. But, although it may hurt a little or be a bit messy there is beauty in it. I am starting to learn that putting yourself a little lesser is how we find some of the freedom we all long for. When you start seeing others first you can almost hear the chinks as the wall you've built around yourself begins to crumble. The light filters through & you wonder how long you've been in this solitary confinement you built up around yourself. You breath in the fresh air you see the blue sky & you step out taking one messy, beautiful step after another. Choice-by-choice. Encounter-by-encounter. One smile or kind word or action by another. Probably won't get it right every time but then just try again. Slowly I hope to feel like a little less of a fraud & more like one who takes those words to heart & learns to live by them.