There are a few blogs that I read every day and and “Daily Life in a Homeless Shelter” is one of them. As I have been reading I can’t stop thinking about Jesus teachings about “the least of these” and how so often as Christians we choose to just ignore poor people. I have even tried to teach a bit about how we should be helping poor people and I have even lately started thinking about finding some place to volunteer, or at least look into places where I could volunteer.
So tonight I am heading to a meeting at a church and I see an obvious transient. I am sort of late so I justify ignoring her and keep driving. (I would make a great Levite for the “Good Samaritan” story) As I left the meeting I saw her again, this time in a different place. I again just kept driving by, but the words of RWK kept coming back to me, and my desire to love as Jesus loved got the better of me and so I found myself turning around and going back to see what I could do to help.
Well, of course helping wasn’t easy. The systems that we have in town to help transients didn’t really work because she wouldn’t get anywhere near the police and what she really wanted was to find a truck stop where she could shower and catch a ride. It was sort of crazy as we bargained between what she wanted and what I was willing to do. In the end I called one of my deacons and we agreed to help her to get to the next major city where she could find some people heading in her direction.
As I was driving to get the church van I was talking to Meredith on the phone and asked, “Is it too late to just give her $10 and let that be enough?” But for some reason I couldn’t let that be enough, and I think it was RWK’s fault. But the problem was that I didn’t know what was the best way to help, and any thing I could think about would all require a commitment of time and energy on my part. But as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just walk away. I wanted to simply act like I hadn’t seen, but I couldn’t for some reason I had seen, and I couldn’t just ignore her.
I don’t know if I did any good. I don’t know if I made an impact or any real difference. But I saw–and I had to respond.