Wednesday, December 9, 2009

She Gets It!

It was a day not easy to forget. Hopefully the beginning - not the last. It's partly why we came here - and it worked.
Our church's youth group goes to downtown Seattle once a month to serve the homeless. It's part of the sad reality of city life. Having previously lived in a remote, smaller town, it was much more difficult to find this type of suffering (though it's everywhere). But in the big city, it's in your face: people asking for money on the freeway offramps, men lined up to find work near Home Depot, women with tattered clothing sleeping on park benches.
From very early on I realized my sins of greed and selfishness have been passed on to my kids. Whether it's an "I want" campaign in every shopping aisle at Target or an "I deserve" attitude during the Christmas season. I don't speak as an expert or a holier than thou pastor - I share that very indifference to the poor too often.
So last Sunday came the opportunity to continue chipping away at that gross veneer we share. Meris (1st grade) and I joined the high school students and a few families on their monthly excursion of service. We passed out socks and granola bars to a few grateful men, then we headed to a "soup kitchen" that serves the homeless daily. I stood behind my brave and newly confident 7 year old who offered dinner rolls to about 300 people. They came up one by one while I asked, "How are you doing?" (Duh, stupid question but seemingly the right one) and intensely studied each face. Young, old, weathered, sad, hopeful, vacant - the whole gamut. I could be just one job loss or different childhood from sharing their current plight.
The pinnacle moment for me was to watch the proverbial lightbulb turn on. In the midst of our abundance (she's knowingly getting her first $95 American Girl Doll for Christmas), she grasps poverty in her hometown. As she eagerly awaits opening up her "Kit" doll in a few weeks (Kit is a fictitious girl who lives during the Great Depression and a kids' movie which boldly depicts hunger and poverty in the 30s features Kit as its main character.) She turns to me and says, "I'm serving bread to people who need food - just like Kit." A powerful, emotional moment which jolted me like a current of electricity. As she humbly resumed passing out bread, in a nanosecond I realize: she gets it, our move was worth it, and I'm so proud of her.