Wednesday, February 25, 2009
It Is Just Easier to Forget
"Hey man, can you spare some change"
"Sorry, I don't have any money on me."
...Except the freaking debit card in my wallet.
Don't worry. This post is about Food in the Fort, not a rant on how I (slash we (we = people (people = fortunate people))) don't give a shit about people who can't give me anything. Well, maybe it's both. The above exchange needs no explanation. It is so so much easier to walk by a person who is calling out for help from poverty than it is to take time to do or think anything. Even when I do stop, the motivation tends to be, "you know what, I (key word) am going to do something for this man. I'm going to do something good (2nd key word)." Wow. I bought a homeless man a quarter pounder to avoid feeling guilty. Here is the deal. I support buying homeless people quarter pounders, I'm just pointing out what dirty rags my efforts to do good are.
So what? Feeling guilty is in no way the answer behind any cosmic door. Where is the change? Perhaps I can offer one place: Food in the Fort. Here is what volunteers do there that resembles volunteer "work": nothing. You walk around with the different people who come in and take food off shelves and put it in a bag. These people know the rules and they have hands, basically the only physical contribution you make is being sure each person does not get more than their fair share. And yet wednesday mornings at Redeemer are so freaking powerful. Why? I finally get to stop DOING and I get to start BEING. All your contribution is just being there, listening, talking, remembering names, and looking people in the eyes. Food in the Fort is not about the volunteers, it's about the people who are seeking help. They have stories. They have personalities. I stood one week and listened to a guy tell me his life story for 20 minutes and then try to convert me to Christianity. I am not saying I don't have selfish intentions there too, but it is much more difficult when I am not actually doing anything to feel this sense of self-rightousness.
Sure you can give monetarily (I would definitely encourage it - checks with Food in the Fort on the Memo line), but it is on Sunday mornings when there is none of this, "I did something GOOD for you. Hope you are grateful." Oh yeah, they need plastic bags too.
Final take-away for me: loving is a whole lot of being and some doing. I need desperately to learn this in my own relationships. I can't buy friendships and I can't buy salvation. All I can do is show up, and I know that God is working through me to sanctify my dirty rag of a soul.