Monday, May 28, 2012

Are You There?

I love TED.  It inspires me, challenges me, broadens the contents of my thoughts.  Recently, I watched one of those inspiring, hopeful, and slightly heartbreaking videos.  Feel free to watch it here--it's less than 6:00 long.

Do something.  What Nancy Lublin set up was not what she did. It was not the point of her job, was not something she set out to do.  But she did it because she believes in doing something.  In fact, that's the name of her organization:

 And the question from that text message stayed with me.  "Are you there?" Or more probably, "r u there?"

But I wonder that a lot.  When I go out to the store and I'm smiling, I see all kinds of miserable, sad people, people who are looking for something.  They may not be looking for me.  More likely they're looking for chicken at $0.99/lb., but their eyes are sad and lonely.

Are you there?

You'd be amazed how many kids talk to me at the bus stop.  I don't think it's just me.  I think they talk to any of the adults there.  They talk because we're there.  They tell me all kinds of things:

"I didn't get any reds today, Miss Elizabeth!"

"Miss Elizabeth, I made this all by myself!"

"My brothers took my money today, Miss Elizabeth.  They can be pretty scary."

"Some days when I'm depressed, I just look at the ground."

I don't have good answers to all of this.  Sometimes I can help.  Sometimes I can't.  But I can listen.  I can hold a backpack, tie a shoe.  I can tell a mom and say a prayer.  I don't have to do nothing.

My friend Merissa recently posted about doing something in her blog.  In particular, she is looking at the care of orphans, but really, we are just called to do.  It doesn't have to be only widows and orphans.  James says, "If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?" (James 2:15-16).  

But perhaps my friend Ryan put it best on Facebook today when he wrote:
 ...cutest thing...every day there is an older lady who sits on a white plastic chair on the corner of 4th and stanley trying to sell jewelry...she does not have a car, she lives alone & walks to/from the grocery store daily...recently, we noticed the back of her chair was broken so we decided to buy her a new one today and took it down to her - the biggest smile grew on her face and by the time i walked back to my house...she took that ole dang chair, threw it into the dumpster, waddled back, plopped down and looked happy. go to your window - see what you can do.

For a long time, I thought of being a missionary, and God very clearly pointed out to me that my neighbor is my neighbor no matter where I live.  If I can't love the person beside me now, I won't be able to love the person beside me anywhere else either.  And that may be just what I need to do: go to my window and see what I can do.

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