Posted by: Matt Norton | May 20, 2009

Opportunities poking me in the side

A few Mondays ago I decided that I would go to Cherokee park and spend the day hiking, praying, reading, and just relaxing.  In order to get there though I need to catch the 17 bus.  As I got on I realized the bus was quite full, so instead of taking my usual spot near the front I went to the very back.

A few moments after I sat down I felt something poke me in the side.  I turned and there sat a young girl, maybe 20 years old, and she asked if I had a phone.  Immediately I thought of how I could say yes, but say that she couldn’t use, in a nice way.  That is something that has been conditioned in me at Jeff Street because as staff we are not supposed to give out money, gifts, or the use of our cell phones to guest.  It’s a way to protect us from having our generosity be abused and not allowing dependencies to us to be formed and thus enabling the very people we would want to help for their betterment. Anyway, that was my first thought, then I was worried that she’d take it and then walk off the bus.  Finally, I decided that she looked genuinely in need and if she ended up walking off with my phone the world would not end.  Plus I thought to myself that as a follower of Christ I’m not guaranteed that I won’t get used and stepped on when trying to do good, but that’s why I don’t store up my treasures here on this earth.

In the end I gave her my phone.  She tried for 5 minutes to get through to someone.  Finally, she gave up.  When she got off the phone she said that she was trying to call her P.O. (Parole Officer).  I decided that I could probe a little and I asked her what she had done to get in trouble to need a P.O.   She told me that she’d been caught dealing and now she has to go to court.  I then asked how she got into that and she said it was just a way to make it in the world.  She said that her mom was dead and that her dad was a deadbeat, so she needed to stay alive somehow.

As I listened my heart softened for her.  She had a rough life, which does not excuse her sin, but it made me hope and pray that someone close to her would reach out to her and show her compassion.  It breaks my heart to see so many people who seem to fall through the cracks of society.  They are never deeply loved.  They don’t have family or friends who are supportive, positive and reliable.  I pray that the church would seek out these people.  I pray that I seek out those people and show them that Christ loves them and that I love them.  There is so much brokenness here in America and I pray that God uses his people to go into all parts of our country to show them that they aren’t alone and that they are made in the image of our wonderful and loving God.

Before I got off I asked the girl how I could pray for her and she just responded that she just needed a lot of prayer in general.  I’m sure by now that girl has forgotten me, but I have not forgotten her.  God loves her, even if she doesn’t know it.  I pray that she along with so many others realize that.  I pray that I stop worrying so much about my comfort and how to make my life perfect and start loving people.  That day it was as simple as loaning a phone to someone.  We all have so many opportunities every day to love, let us not pass them up.

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