Logic has long been a friend to my black and white, binary style of thinking. I grew up thinking rigidly about what was right and what was wrong. I am not sure why it started, but at an early age I thought I had a lot of things figured out. I remember asking my parents why someone was homeless, and they answered, “He is not working, he is probably an alcoholic.” So anytime that I saw someone who was homeless I applied that same line of thinking to them.
If I saw someone with a poor paying job working at McDonald’s, I was made to think that they probably did not try very hard in school and they were forever stuck in a dead end job. I had a lot of the world all wrapped up into my preconceived notions. I thought I had the world figured out. I believed, that if I worked hard enough, was educated enough, and loved God enough I would never, ever experience many tough times. I had never met anyone who suffered from homelessness, chronic pain, or anything this drastic until I decided to go into Moore Square.
The first time that I entered Moore Square it was with Church in the Woods lead by Alice McGee. I talked with many people who were homeless or extremely poor. I realized very quickly that their stories were not far from mine. As you would expect, some of them were addicts, but most of them had fell on tough times and had no other options. I thought this must have been strange, but through the next three years that I was ministered to by these incredible people I learned that their stories were heartbreaking and true.
I was at a crossroads with my logical thinking. I had to decide to quit thinking this way or I had to apply my thinking to this group of people. I could not turn my back on my new friends, so I decided that the world was not black or white, but that there were many shades of gray.
My life changed from that moment on. In fact, it has made many things difficult for me as I have been away from homeless ministry for a few years now. I am often hesitant from helping with any ministry as I know what a huge commitment it is. I want to do something with my whole heart and accept the changes it brings in me.
If you are someone who lives a logical life, I hope you will consider that the world is not really like that, but I know you will have to experience something like I did to rock your organized world.