Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who Sleeps on the couch?

Daren Busenitz my good friend and Wichita Director wrote this blog recently and I wanted to pass along.  Just one example of  how life is so different for people in the city.  

This was the question of one of my neighborhood kids asked me when they came over to visit the other day.  It caught me off-guard and at first I was not even sure how to respond.  But then the harsh truth slowly dawned on me.  But first, let me back up a bit.
The kids that come over stay at a house two doors down from us to the North.  While most of us would use the term "live in a house", it is interesting that among the poor in our neighborhood, the phrase "stay at a house " is more often the description which indicates the temporary nature of even the most stable things in their lives.  The house itself is a typical inner-city house.  Run down and barely able to keep up with the demands of all the people who stay inside its few walls.  Bare dirt on the front lawn from constant activity of kids, teens, adults coming and going.  I think the grandmother technically owns the house, but you would never be able to guess who lived there due to the large amount of people who randomly come and go .  An old large car that somehow continues to run despite its obvious neglect in routine maintenance and upkeep.  The harshest fact may be there there are two bedrooms in the house with two beds and LOTS of people.  As you can imagine, the kids are lucky to even get a spot on the couch and even more likely to get a spot on the hardwood floor.
The question slowly made sense, "so who sleeps on the couch?"  Equal to the surprise for us that someone would not have a bed to sleep in, is the surprise for my neighborhood kids who can't even envision a couch that is not used at night for comfortable sleeping.  This certainly puts things in perspective in a hurry.
The thing that I want to change about my life from this "learning point" is the concern and action that I myself have and demonstrate for my neighbors.  I am not Ty Pennignton and I cannot come in and build them a lavish new house (that would quickly fall into disrepair anyway once the media leaves).  However, I can seek to alleviate the suffering of the poor.  Specifically by building meaningful relationships with my neighbors, learning of their need, trying to help meet those needs as I share of my resources and demonstrate (not just tell) how God wants to provide for them and become the one that they can fully trust in for all their needs.

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