I have thought a lot about Luz lately. She is my sponsor child's grandmother and guardian.
Sponsoring a child, you know, the advertisement on the sidebar of your Facebook or the booths at Christian conferences. Phrases like, change a life for $40 a month.
I see Luz in a unique way. Maybe it's because one time she almost had to pick my hair for lice (apparently he is a pro delouser) or because I finally understood the gospel because of her and her friends.
The smell of Pine Sol today made me think of her. I was mopping the floor-- not the most glamorous job for a college grad, nonetheless, the Pine Sol, mop and bucket of water smelled just like Luz. She cleans the programs where her granddaughter goes to school. It is her dream job. She prays while she mops, and she listens to the kids stories of pain and violence.
As I mop I think of her.
I think of how I will barely do this job for what they pay me, but she did it as a volunteer for almost 2 years.
I don't know if I have really helped Luz that much with my tiny donations, but she has helped me. She is an inspiration, a challenge and a mystery to me. How does she go home to the gun shots every night, rest her tired dirty feet in her less than elegant home in that neighborhood where I'm not allowed to go anywhere without security guards.
How does she wake up and thank God everyday? I wonder if she has more to thank him for than me. And maybe that is because she depends on him for more.
Do I really need God any less than her?
Does my college degree, American passport, insurance policy, job stability, or socioeconomic status make me any less desperate?
Are there different levels of Christian-- the ones who trust him most deeply for 'traveling mercies' and the ones who trust him most deeply for survival?
Thinking a lot lately about what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus and why it seems to look so different depending on context. I've always thought we were the most blessed nation because of all the freedom and money. And surely we are incredibly blessed for so many reasons, but is it really all good? Does the freedom of religion mean we actually deeply experience God? Does the abundance of "things" really bring us contentment and thankfulness?
I have written a lot lately about the the fight for justice.
Sometimes we go through seasons immersed in ministry. Times when all we see is need. There is something very cleansing and life-giving, and all the while exhausting, about giving your everything in service to the Lord each day and coming to him completely empty in need of being filled up to give out again. It is almost a surreal place of feeling so intimate and in sync with God.
Unfortunately most of us aren’t at that place now.
What do you do when you're heart desires to help, but you just feel stuck inside the office and the mission is out there? You crash every night of exhaustion already, so how could you possibly add this pouring out of your life?
So this is a question that I am asking myself lately.
Is it wrong for us to have normal lives?
But then, what is normal anyways?
For my friends in Honduras who follow Jesus and come from some of the poorest, most violent neighborhoods in America, normal is sitting at the table praying God will provide dinner. Normal is orphans running through the streets. Normal is working hard everyday for a meager paycheck, hiding from the gang violence and praying against extortion. Normal is their friends’ home [that they spent their lives working for] taken over by a gang while they and their kids are thrown into the street, because the gang liked the house and is above the corrupt legal system. Normal is praying everyday that God would protect their family and friends.
My idea of normal is living in a mostly safe part of town. Normal is not thinking about hunger, just eating dinner. Normal is passing a homeless man at a red light and telling myself he will probably spend it on unhealthy habits and avoiding eye contact until the light turns green. Normal is being tired from work and spending money on fun things with friends. Normal is ice cream at midnight because I have had a long day and I should “treat myself.” Normal is assuming my family is always safe. Normal is not praying a lot because everything is normal.
It’s a pretty typical American-reality. Let’s just be honest, this normal isn’t even on the high end of American-extravagance.
So at the end of the day, I wonder why this kind of normal leaves me looking for something more, but it leaves my friends in Honduras on their knees in prayer.