Monday, April 18, 2016

We are not that different, she and I.

I see her life and my gut aches. We are not that different, she and I. Separated by social class and education, but bound together by our humanity, by our grit-your-teeth-and-go passions. She for the sake of her for the sake of babies like hers, whose mamas have fought until they have no fight left to give. She is desperate, and my gut aches. Where can my hands serve her, when systemic injustice and racial disparities heap the mound she is buried under ever higher? I see her frantic thoughts and decisions, and my gut aches. How is she supposed to get from here to there? "They" make it sound so easy..."Get a job!" {but how can she when she can't afford daycare?} "Clean up your filthy house!" {but how can she with kids splattering food and her own sanity splattering too?} "Save your money so you can move into a safer neighborhood!" {but how can she with mouths to feed and school clothes to buy and the scrounged together pennies just don't add up??}

I see her life and my gut aches. Maybe the ache is why so few people understand. The ache is not comfortable, so we stay far away and instead lob impossibly simple solutions across the chasm to feel like we are helping in all our better-than-you-ness. I think to myself, Jesus loved people by meeting them in their mess. He shared meals with outcasts. He touched the filthy and diseased. He embraced children and was scolded for doing so. He got down into the dirt and sat in the ache of broken humanity. When was the last time you ate with the outcast, or embraced the diseased and bug-infested, or scooped up a snotty-faced little one craving the consistent love and affection of an adult?

I look at her life and my gut aches. But I try to remember that she and I, we are not so different. I can't fix her life. But I can get down in the dirt, look into her tired, desperate, lonely, beautiful eyes...and whisper that she is not alone. I don't know how to fix her life, but I do know how to listen and say "I'm so sorry," how to clean dirty kitchens and scoop up an attention-starved little one. Maybe, in sitting together under the heaping mound, we will figure it out.