Monthly Archives: October 2012

displaced, literally.

As you may or may not recall, I wrote briefly about the concept of sweeps awhile ago.  You can refresh your memory here, if necessary (for future reference, any time a word is underlined, chances are it’s a clickable link).

Yesterday I inadvertently came across this news story.   If you have a free minute and a half (which I’m going to assume you do, because reading these posts generally takes longer than that…), please watch it.

Let me break it down for you, though.  There’s an overpass here in town that, to quote the article, has “housed the homeless for years”.  But starting today, that will no longer be the case.  The City Code Enforcement said there has been a rise in complaints against the people living there, so they put up trespassing signs and kicked everyone out.  They also plan on moving more of the homeless on Monday, probably from their camps along the river.

I first watched this with someone who used to live under that overpass.  She was horrified, telling me stories of the people who still live there.  In the video, there’s a shot of a mattress being tossed carelessly aside.  That mattress belongs to a man who has lived in that spot for 2 1/2 years.

The article also says, “this solves the homeless problem here, but likely only moves it somewhere else.”

It seems, though, that moving the problem somewhere else is not, in fact, solving it anywhere.

The easy answer, if someone doesn’t have all of the facts, would be to send them here, to the Mission.  But that just isn’t plausible.

For example, there was a group of homeless teenagers who had banded together there as well.  None of them are 18, so they will have a particularly difficult time finding a new shelter.  The Mission can’t take them in because they are underage.

And even if they were older, we simply don’t have the capacity to even temporarily house all of these people.  I’ve already had to turn one family away because we just don’t have any more room.

There are extreme weather shelters that open temporarily between mid-November and March, but even they can only hold so many people.

I’m trying to figure out what Jesus would do in this situation, and I’m just not sure.  There aren’t really tables that can be flipped over in anger (Matthew 21, if you don’t know what I’m referring to) and even if there were, I’m not sure that would be especially helpful…

So, for now I guess I’ll just keep praying for this community that I love.  I’ll pray that our city would recognize that the open-ended action that they took was unjust.  And I’ll pray that some kind of solution would arise, and that something good could somehow come from what seems like an awful situation.

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dropped off.

On Sunday a woman checked in, and I walked back to the parking lot with her so she could get the rest of her possessions out of someone’s car.  Her mom had kicked her out somewhat unexpectedly, and then had a friend drive her to the Mission.

She stood there, staring at the open trunk for awhile as though at any time her mom would call her and say, “just kidding, I changed my mind, you can come back now.”  After a few long minutes, she slowly began to unload her things.  She moved in slow motion, still hoping to wake up, and when her bags were on the ground around her and her backpack was on, she began to cry. Softly at first, and then harder as reality finally set in.  The person dropping her off pulled her in for a hug as though that would make her feel better about her circumstances.  It didn’t.  She was still crying as the trunk closed and the car drove away.

Her sorrow ran deep, stemming from a lack of hope–she didn’t have a definitive time frame to work with, so she had no idea how long this new stretch of her life would be.  It ended up being less than 24 hours before her mom changed her mind again and came to pick her up so they could work out their issues, but those hours were rough.  She wandered around aimlessly, fighting the inevitable process of checking in, and calling everyone she could think of to try to get them to pick her up.

I’ve been feeling a lot like her lately.

There are days when it is especially hard, when I feel as though Jesus dropped me off here in this life and then left me to fend for myself.  When it seems like I ask question after question about what I should be doing, and I am only offered silence in return.

And I know–oh, how I know–that He meets us in our weak points, in our loneliness, but I get so tired sometimes.  Not fed up, but exhausted, trying to fill those empty spaces with busyness so that I don’t have to feel them.  I waver between desperately wanting to be answered by the Lord and being afraid that He’ll tell me something I don’t want to hear.

I know that I’m not alone in these feelings, that there are a ton of people who can’t figure out their purpose in life and they feel like they’re just waiting around to hear something.  But how long do we wait?  And what do we do in the meantime?

I don’t know the answers to those questions.

I do know that, while the woman in the parking lot had nothing to put her hope in and nothing that told her things were going to get better, my reality is a different one.

I know that I have a hope built on Jesus’ blood and righteousness (how many of you are singing that hymn in your head right now? So good.)

I also know that God is for us, that nothing can separate us from His love, that He has a greater purpose for us and can make something good out of places where there seems to be only brokenness.

And I guess for now, knowing those things has to be enough.