Saturday, March 22, 2008
"Give me enough food to live on,
neither too much nor too little.
If I'm too full, I might get independent,
saying, 'God? Who needs him?'
If I'm poor, I might steal
and dishonor the name of my God."
[Prov. 30:8-9, the Message]
It gets this way; you don't know how to fix all the problems, so you start wondering why you're even trying to do anything, anything at all. I know Marlon feels this way. He sits with the same guys, with the same addictions, dismissing him in the same manner, day after day, week after week, and year after year. The story doesn't change much. He can make the call, he can get him into rehab. He has the connections to help this person not only move toward freedom from addiction, but also find housing, clothes, and job skills. Marlon has these connections. And still they refuse. Oh, there is the occasional (in every sense of the word) positive response. Clean for a few months. Abstinent for a few weeks. But it's a heart condition, and this is what Marlon knows, this is what we know, this is what we want all to know. That you don't have to live in bondage.
But still, the man at the car wash, who lives with the shakes, drinks hydrogen peroxide because it's cheap and somehow gives him the illusion that it's as good as the real thing. And he, day after day, refuses help, refuses to dial Big Dog's number, to let him pick him up and carry his burden for him. This is familiar. This is all he's meant to do. This is his "freedom," and so he stays at the car wash. He answers to know one. Yet his insides, including his heart, are slowly burning away.
Ten children who I desperately wanted to shelter under the roof of my home, who were terribly surprised by my request for a hug, but so willing to give it. Do they ever get hugs? Or are they constantly made slave to the requests of their crack-addicted mother and tired and helpless older sister? What will happen to them? How can I stay in their lives? Answer, please! God, help us, ANSWERS!! Why, why, why, and how could this happen? WHERE DO WE BEGIN?
This is what happens when I think on it too long. You go through these cycles or deep grief, of anger, of helplessness, and too often, final retreat.
"This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing." [Matthew 10:42. the Message]
We're all just doing our best to make it through and shine our love heavenward and thus, outward to our neighbors, to our brothers and sisters, to each other, any and all.