7.03.2007

So this is what it's like to fall off the face of the earth.

It has been a long time since my last post and I feel like I've been neglecting this. Almost like it's gathering dust in the corner of my concience, next to all the projects I stated and never finished.
Well, let this be me picking it up, dusting it off and putting on my other shelf of things I don't do often enough, but do occasionally. Like taking out the garbage, or picking up my dirty laundry.

I've been a little frustrated lately. Being a carpet cleaner I'm in and out of different people's houses everyday. Rich people, middle class, poor. Black, White, Latino, and everyone else. Comercial jobs, residential jobs, you name it. Somedays are bad for me, because I see all the stuff they have and I want it for myself. I've got to fight down the money spender inside and remember that I have higher priorities than gathering wealth.

The rest are bad for me in a completely different way. I went to Africa in May of 2003 and I saw poverty everywhere. Aids is a huge problem in Zambia but they can't afford what little treatment is available for an uncurable dissease. But somehow it didn't hit home. Sure I came home with a realization that poverty was a big problem, but I still had a sense of it being 'their problem'. I couldn't wrap my hands around it so I couldn't do anything about it.

But since I've been going into houses, I can't just put it onto that shelf with 'projects I'll try to get back to later'. I go into poor homes and I can't stand it. I go in to perform a service for them because they need it. Their carpets are dirtier. Much, much dirtier. Their furniture is trashed. There are four chairs around the kitchen table, but they don't match. The cabinets in the kitchen are falling off the hinges and they are empty. There are cockroaches, water damage that they can't afford to have fixed and missing shingles on the roof. The siding is filthy and the lawn is a wreck.

Then I go into a rich persons house, with an excess of nice furniture that they don't sit on and 2 iBooks that they don't need. I get pissed.

Sunday night I watched "the Pursuit of Happyness" with Jessica. I nearly got sick. Watching this father and his son loose everything. It just hurt to watch. I wanted to skip to the end, knowing full well that it must have a happy ending for Hollywood to be interested in it.

But how many of these stories don't have happy endings? How many fathers can't provide for their sons and will never find a way. How many children grow up without knowing one of their parents? How many single moms skip diner to feed their kids? WHERE THE HECK IS THE CHURCH????

I cleaned a church last week in Muskegon Heights. The Heights are known for being the run-down, poorest of the poor in the area. The thing that bugged me was that the church was nice. The paster had a nice 2 room office, with a conference room and a private study. The sanctuary was large, with a nice Pearl drumset and a ton of lighting and sound equipment. The office had nice desks and several computers sitting dormant. Next door was what you'd expect to see in the ghetto. Run down and filty. I Pray that they were reaching their neighborhood, but I have some concern over how they do that when they spend their money on nice carpets and a lifesized statue of Jesus on the Cross. (sidebar; why is a middle-eastern guy depicted as being white in a predominantly black church? discuss later.)

God, whatever you do, don't give me peace. Not about this. Poverty is not a problem I can solve, but something in me cries "It's not meant to be this way!" I can't stand by and just watch anymore. Here I am...

(Edited on July 5th for grammar and spelling)

2 comments:

Nancy said...

It's a very difficult battle within the church between the need to supply ministry within the church and the need to do ministry outside the church. But really, it shouldn't be a battle. It's pretty obvious that if God calls us to feed the hunger, help the poor, then that's what we should do.
We've had a homeless man in attendance here for a few weeks, and we often come to work during the week and find his car parked in the parking lot with him in the backseat. So we give him food, wash his clothes, and let him take showers in our 1 million dollar building extension. Which, when you think about it, is 500+ individuals in a church helping one man who is still homeless, jobless and hungry.
What's that old saying, "give a man a fish and he'll eat dinner. teach a man to fish and he'll eat forever?"
So much to do.

Christopher said...

Props for the showers. Praise God that you gave him a small reminder of what it was like before...

"but really it shouldn't be a battle" Oh, Yeah.