Monday, November 26, 2012

The Reality of the World

We've already had a Santa sighting!

With my older boys, I remember a moment.  A moment where the fog was lifted from their eyes and suddenly they saw the world with more clarity.  They realized that the world is not entirely made up of people just like them.  Poverty, hunger, and crime exists.   

Cooper had that moment this weekend. 

We pulled up to a busy intersection.  Within inches of my car window stood a disheveled gentleman clutching a homemade cardboard sign with the words "homeless" scribbled on the front. His presence triggered an internal dialogue.  I struggled with how to proceed.

One side screamed, "He needs the money.  You have some.  Isn't that the Christian thing to do?"

My other side snorted and replied, "You don't know what he's going to do with the money?  The best way to donate money is to give to an organization."

As my mind ping-ponged back and forth, the light flashed green and the traffic surged forward.  By default, my decision to bypass the stranger's outstretched hand was made.  Within seconds, his image was deleted from my mind and I was contemplating dinner plans and to do lists.

Just then, Cooper's little voice chirped from the backseat, "Who was that man?  What was he doing?"

And so I explained some people don't have homes, food, jobs.

He shot me a puzzled look and then replied, "We can give him money.  We can give him food.  We can let him live with us."

It was so sweet and innocent.  I almost hated to come crashing down on him with reality.  And so I took it upon myself to explain homelessness and poverty.  The conversation was awkward.  I was trying to explain a concept and a solution (and how we play into it) with the clarity that I lack.

Cooper listened but seemed unshaken in his resolution to help.  A little part of me wished I held that same passion and innocence.

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