Posted by: pendrops | November 8, 2006

all things new

homeless.jpg

Today, I worked downtown, perched above West End Avenue, watching students, businessmen, and moms come and go. Then I noticed them: the multitude of homeless men and women. They shuffled up and down the streets, pushing rusty carts, lugging their lives around in plastic trash bags, feasting on 99-cent hamburgers and cups of water.

In my head, I asked the same question I ask every time I see a homeless person: “Why don’t they go to the rescue mission? Why choose to live on a bus, under a bridge, or in a cardboard box when you can get a warm meal, a safe bed, and a human touch at any one of the city’s shelters?”

After talking about this once with Jason, we decided that many homeless folks don’t go to the shelters because many of those places hold accountable the men and women they take in. They require growth, improvement, and change from their temporary tenants.

We figured that, by and large, the people who refuse to go there simply don’t want to answer to anyone. They don’t want to give up the addictions that put them on the street. They don’t want to change.

Without missing a beat, my mind traced its way to my heart, revealing the ways I live like the homeless. The ways I forego warmth, safety, and rest so that I can hold onto my own safer addictions. The times I settle for sleeping on a chilled, lonely street instead of coming home to a warm, lighted house. The key to this home is in my hand; what unlocks the door is willingness to change.

Inside the walls, mercy, hope and freedom live. The doors and windows are locked forever to guilt, shame, and despair. I have inherited this home and can live in it always without fear. The only requirement is that I let Someone who cares for me more than I care for myself make my bed, feed me living bread, and make all things new in me.

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