Wednesday, April 15, 2009

trash

"Ew! I can't stand driving through cities! They're full of white trash... and black trash."

"Precisely. That's why I hang out there."

"Well, good for you."

I couldn't reply further. The quick pain to my heart was already tainted with anger I feared would come steaming out my mouth if I opened it. Your talk is filled with dollar signs as if your spending is an elite illness to be both pitied and envied by your listeners. Has is ever occurred to you that life is bigger than yourself? In another century, will it matter that you modeled the best clothes today? I dare say it will. The coat will be gone, as will the children you could have fed with the substantial sum it cost you. When you bought that coat, did you not even hear the words, "Let him who has two coats give to him who has none?" You have to avoid the poor and shield yourself from suffering so that you can continue to live your cute-and-spoiled life. I wish you could meet some of the people you just called "trash".

Javalia, age five, asking me the question that is inaudibly screamed by every person in her city, regardless of age or color, "You still gonna love me?"

Lennea, age fourteen, living with her grandmother and responding to the pain of her mother's death and her father's disappearance by being the tough kid who beats up the others... and yet has softened and started to reciprocate the love I tried to show her. Her eyes have a light in them that was totally absent before, and I think God is reaching her with Love.

Julio, age twelve, already hard and tough, listening to no one. I don't know much of his story, but something about him breaks my heart. He haunts me.

Brandi, age six, not wanting to go home to her fighting parents after Kids' Club. I carried her through her dingy housing complex, holding her close to my heart and singing to her for as long as I could... until I had to leave her at her door which barely muffled the shouts inside.

Yes, they're poor. And dirty. They are sometimes hard to love and hurt you in return for your efforts to reach them. But they are not trash. Neither are their parents.

[we were meant to live for so much more/have we lost ourselves?] -Switchfoot

I am far from perfect myself, but I love you and wish you could see things through the eyes of our Father, who came to earth to be homeless and poor, to experience and identify with the heartcries of the ones whose hearts still cry today, the poor.

Please don't call them "trash".

4 comments:

Rosanne said...

Becca-

I don't have words this time, only tears.


Have you read "Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers" by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove? I found it challenging and hopeful.

Carla said...

Well said! Lord, forgive our arrogance and selfishness. May we see as God sees.

Those pics of your sisters are beautiful! I didn't know anything about your family. That cute, curly haired gal on the swing looks a lot like you.

Josh N. said...

"Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:35-40, ESV)

You touched a sensitive nerve...so let me vent a bit. Of course it's noble for us to care about the "trash" in other countries...those poor, poor people who don't know anything about the wonders of the American Dream. So we give them money, take their pictures, and return with big stories. But what about the poor in our own backyards...the trash that litters our otherwise perfect utopias. The trash we have to live with everyday...our neighbor-trash. We live in America right? Well anybody in America has equal opportunity. If you would just resolve to succeed and get a job all our problems would be resolved. It's America...pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps America. You're in your situation because you want to be there...lazy, scummy, trash.

Pardon the cynicism/sarcasm. You're post was first and foremost convicting for myself. It doesn't help just to rant about it. Btw, if you need another book recommendation on the topic try Grisham's novel, The Street Lawyer.

May Christ have mercy if we label his brothers and sisters as trash...

dinky said...

I think - no, I know - I was way too sheltered for way too long. I never heard these kinds of stories before I came here. May my eyes continue to be opened!
Becca, your heart for these children of God has touched me and given me a new way of thinking. Keep standing up for what you know is right! (And keep reminding me [and people like me] that I am more than comfortable and instead of buying another coat or pair of shoes, I should be helping the rest of the brothers and sisters of Jesus).
God has blessed you with a voice into this world. Use it!