Last winter, I saw homeless people near my house on a regular basis.
They were far enough away that I could avoid them if I wanted to, but they were there. They stood with cardboard signs asking for help, for food. They thawed out in the local McDonald's in winter coats spotted with holes that deny the wearer to ever be completely warm or comfortable in the cold and rain.
I'm not sure when they started showing up. I'm not sure if there ever was a beginning. I saw them before, handing out a sandwich or a snack I just happened to have. I'd think of them for a couple of hours and then go about living my life as usual.
Eventually, though, they burrowed their way into my heart and took a seat, weighing it down.
I don't know their stories, I don't know if them standing out there in the cold and wind is "their fault" or not,
but I saw people I love in their faces.
What if someone I love were in their place? What if I didn't know about it, if somehow they felt they couldn't tell me, if they were too ashamed or whatever it may be?
I would want somebody to love the people I love for me.
They wiggled their way into Tim's heart, too. What we chose to do is really no big deal: we made up care packages to cover basic needs. We look for those guys until they were scared away with threats of fines (all guys; I haven't seen any girls); We wanted to get to know them and what kinds of things would be useful to them. We handed over supplies and a smile, a it's nice to meet you.
About a year ago, Tim and I started meeting weekly with 4 of our friends and their little boys. We share meals and child care. We have a "we can talk about/work through anything; you better tell me if there's a conflict so we can hash it out" policy. We work through books together and explore who Jesus really was, what loving people looks like, what community looks like.
I think the Jesus I am getting to know would have made friends with the guys with the cardboard signs, the ones who are easy to ignore and move on from, the ones who are asking for help.
Tim and I don't have a lot of money. I don't say that as a complaint. We knew when we decided I would stay home with Nolan that money would be tight. And it is tight: going out for coffee or taking Nolan to a local play place is a bit of a splurge for us. But I will tell you this: