Thursday, July 11, 2013

Affirmation/Broken Heart and an Otherwise Great Day in South Louisville

One of the coolest things so far about this appointment is that I'm only indoors as much as I want to be.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm growing rather fond of my office, but there's not a whole lot of ministry/interaction going on in there.  It's outside in the neighborhood where I feel my spirit pushing me.  It sounds kind of silly to say so, but at the same time, it needs to be said, we as Christians need to be "outside" more.  If we're really to share the mercy, grace, hope, and love of Jesus Christ with the world, we collectively need to quit waiting for the world to come to us.  There's so many opportunities awaiting us.

I mention these things because in three weeks in South Louisville, my real work has been accomplished outside the building.  Without walking the streets, exploring, stepping out of my comfort zone, there is so much I would've missed out on...things and people I cannot afford to miss.  Case in point, a couple of days ago, while out walking I came across something that stopped me dead in my tracks.  I pay a lot of attention to the "tagging" (graffiti) just to see what is being expressed.  Mostly it's symbols, words, or scripts that have little meaning to me, but what I'm looking for is redundancy.  What makes sense to me is usually pretty profane, but I digress...back to the point.  I turned down an alley and I just felt the need to turn around and to look back.  Here is what I saw...

Not at all what I expected to see; I could only stand there and stare.  Something rose up in me that very nearly pushed tears from my eyes.  I feel it important at this point to tell you that I am in no way trying to romanticize this, or to assign meaning where I have no business assigning anything, however what I saw was affirmation; we are where we're supposed to be.  I don't know what would drive someone to reach out, to scream out to God in such a fashion, but my heart breaks for them.  I would assume at this point whoever it was had already attempted praying, perhaps even trying to negotiate with God...as we all are guilty of doing.  Did they find silence?  Deeper despair?  Desperation?  Is this what drove someone to paint this?  Beats me, I just know my heart breaks and I pray that we are able to somehow, someway meet this person in their needs.

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Now some good news and more affirmation.  I got to hang with my good friend Pastor Adam from Corydon, Indiana in my 'hood today.  It was a huge blessing to get to hang out with a friend and brother, to brainstorm, and to share in the excitement and potential this place just seems to elicit.

As I was leaving the church this evening I was greeted by six kids sitting in the shade of the church trying to beat the heat as they ate ice cream cones.  I walked over and introduced myself to them, which instantly resulted in them jumping up, "Sorry!  We were just sitting in the shade!"  I threw up my hands, "No, no, no!  You're always welcome here!  I just want to talk."  These kids proved a treasure trove of information about the neighborhood, as well as providing an honest appraisal of what they need and want in the neighborhood.  The most powerful thing that was shared, the one thing that cut straight to my heart, "We need somewhere safe to go."

We're where we're supposed to be.

2 comments:

Adam Roe said...

Yes, brother, the kids will always tell you what you need to know. It was such a blessing to be with you today, my friend. I am excited for you, and I am daily praying for you. :)

Adam

The Cantankerous Christian said...

Appreciate so much your company, prayers, and friendship!