Somedays, it's hard to love neighbors. Especially when they don't do the things I think they should.
Last week, a man stopped by the church, asking for help. He'd broken his ankle, and wanted a bicycle so he could get around, with his dog. This seemed like a pretty lame attempt at fixing what seemed to me to be much bigger problems. The more I talked to him, the more true this seemed.
So, I tried to just focus on being love: offering hospitality and concern. (I didn't get him the bicycle.) I was delighted by how church folks pitched in and offered care--he wasn't an easy person to embrace.
But, as often seems to be the case, it didn't end well: we hit the limit of what we could offer and it didn't meet what he believed he needed, and things were less than loving for a moment. And he left.
I often feel this: tension because I'm not willing to give what another person in need believes they need.
So it was a great joy today to have a man stop by whose family the church was able to help almost 4 years ago. He just wanted us to know that our help really was helpful to them, that he's worked his way up in a company into management, and now wants to share help with the church or someone else who might be in need.
We didn't really have much to offer: a week's lodging in a cheap hotel for the family, as I recall.
Then, as last week, it felt like I only have this little, small piece to offer to people with giant, gaping need. And, in bad moments, like it's not even worth bothering, 'cause what I have certainly won't fill their vast holes.
But, then, I get a reminder that there is possibility in these small things, and that, by the grace of God, somehow they can be a part of expanding in wondrous ways.