Working in LA, doing everyday outreach. I have seen a lot of heartbreaking things. I remember one of the first outreach I ever did was down in Skid Row, the heart of homelessness in downtown LA. It was like I was in a different city, everyone living in the most horrible condition. Many people on drugs and some that were not but just living there because it was one of the only places they could sleep without getting in trouble.I will never forget, as we set up tables and food there was this older lady screaming and throwing whatever she had towards us. It got to the point that many of my volunteers were scared. The older lady had a needle in her hand and was acting as if she was going to stab someone with it. I remember holding her arms down and looking her in her eyes and telling her you are hurting my feelings. She eventually calmed down and grabbed some food and left. Driving home I felt so heart broken because I pictured her being someone’s mother or even daughter and related her to my own family and it made me feel so connected but so hurt at the same time because I knew there was nothing I could do. This was the first taste of an overwhelming connection for others.
Going to Haiti opened my eyes to an emotion I can’t really explain. Even me trying to write it, it still doesn’t give its justice of what I feel. I always looked at emotions as trying to describe the shape of the air. You can only describe it as far as you can see it, but there are so many deeper areas your emotions touches as well as unseen areas that someone listening can only grasp, they can only connect to as far as you can see it. The best way I can describe what I felt in Haiti is the overwhelming feeling of the lack of love humanity is reaching. As I was in Haiti I didn’t really get to think about what I felt and actually take in what I saw, but when I came back and saw how much I am living in this bubble. A bubble of love with walls, a bubble knowledge with no action, a bubble of shame. The scripture that popped in my head was
1 John 4:21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
I had to ask myself did I really love these people in Haiti as my real brother or sister and every elder as my mother or father? Or what about the people in America, all the people I seed on skid row every day, do I see them as my own family?
When I came back from Haiti I was outreaching ( giving out food, hygiene kits etc) I began to meditate, looking at this older women as my very own mom. My heart began to break and the need to help her increased even more! I kept asking her is there anything thing she needs and as I was leaving I gave her the biggest hug just as if I was hugging my very own mom despite the way she smelled, look or even thought. I wanted her to know that I loved her.
A conviction I hold is to love outside the bubble. And not to let the bubble separate us from the biggest gift we can ever obtain. The ability to love! Love is what everyone wants but the world has taught us to keep the love where we can see it, and only give love if they return it. But God’s love is love that can’t be returning nor is it desired to be returned.
I pray that we have a new generation, with a new love a love that can change the world.