Monday, November 1, 2010
So, this summer, we went to Detroit to see my Aunt Kim and Uncle Hadi. Upon arriving, we went to the Greek district in downtown and ate dinner at a WONDERFUL Greek restaurant.
As we are driving in the downtown area, I am immediately struck in awe by how many homeless people are lining the streets, asking for money from passersby. Don't get me wrong. We have homeless people in Orlando... but this was unreal. They were at every other store front, dirty, tired, and looking for food or any amount of money they could gather. I know that this is an opportunity for Abi to see the world through new eyes.
I said, "Abi, see all these people standing around who aren't dressed very nicely? They don't have homes. They sleep on the sidewalks and streets, and they stand out here and ask for food and money from people. Some of them can't work, some of them WON'T work, and all of them are sad. But God loves these people, and so do we."
My uncle pulled the car in front of our restaurant to let us out. I get out and turn to get Abi. Her cheeks are bright red. I said, "What's wrong?" I will NEVER forget what she said.
"Mom, I feel like a jerk right now."
My heart was broken and at the same time warmed with gratitude for her words. I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "We're going in here to eat and that man is so hungry." My Aunt Kim immediately goes into her purse, gives Abi a dollar, and walks her over to the man to give it to him. The man turns to Abi, bends down, and says, "Thank you, little girl. God bless you."
We get into the foyer of the restaurant and Abi's smiling from ear to ear. "He said God bless you to me, Mom! He was so thankful he'll be able to eat!"
Later on that night, I had another small talk with Abi about the homeless people we saw. While I wanted her to see the people around her that are hurting and suffering every day, and while I want to expose her to the harsh reality that the world is not always happy and warm... I also have to expose her to the truth that we cannot save every person from their needs. I had to explain to her that while some people cannot find jobs, there are others who don't want jobs. I had to explain to her that some people don't want to be responsible, but there are many others who would give anything for the opportunity to fix their family a nice, hot meal.
See, Abi's a very tenderhearted child. She is giving, warm, and concerned for others. She is very much aware of the needs of the people around her and wants everyone to be at peace. Since her heart is bent toward generosity, it is MY job to make sure she knows that real love helps... but it doesn't always rescue and it CERTAINLY doesn't enable. While I want her to be a pillar of hope and refuge in this hurting world, I most assuredly don't want her to be a pushover.
So where does this come to? I have to teach her to rely on that still small voice in her heart... the Voice of all voices that abides in her every fiber. I have to guide her in listening to the Holy Spirit as He prompts her heart and leads her to give, and leads her to step away.
See, every day, there are opportunities around us to seize. God moments on the corners of our streets and sidewalks where He wants to meet our children and give them His eyes.
Are you looking?