I talked with Nora today...
Nora's an older woman who lives on the streets and pushes a shopping cart that holds all of her earthly possessions...perhaps you've seen her in your town. Her face shows the mileage of street life and pain she's experienced over the years.
It's her pain, really, that brings her to our neighbourhood. Both her mother and father tragically ended their lives a number of years ago and their funerals were held at the Funeral home across the street from our family centre. Now, trapped by her grief, Nora's only world consists of the four square blocks around that funeral home. With the piercing feeling of loneliness, everyday Nora visits the last place she ever saw her parents...often spending hours in the parking lot alone...drinking...remembering...marinating in the pain of her loss.
As I shared a sandwich with her, she offered a bit of her story and we got to talking about relationships...her most cherished relationship was with a stray cat that she had befriended a few blocks over, "If I had a home, that cat would live with me and be better fed than me" she said. Somehow, I completely believe her. "She comes to me every morning and greets me and just sits on my shoulder...that cat makes my day."
As I left her late that afternoon, I explained to her that I was from the family centre right across the street and I invited her to come over to warm up and share a meal with us any time she wanted...she had known all along who I was and where I was from and seemed quite unimpressed. It was one street outside of her "zone" and she'd simply never make the effort.
As I left her that afternoon and reflected on our exchange, I couldn't help but think of how Jesus was more about going to where people were than he was about people coming to him...then I thought of how silly I must have sounded to Nora as I invited her "in" when God really wants me continually going "out"...then I thought, maybe I should be more like the cat...
What is it in us that continually wants people to come "in" and be about what we're about? What a weird perspective..."come be about my thing"...rather than inviting God to create in us an internal fascination or courage that would take us "out" and into unique places to meet the Nora's of our world.