I drove by a crime scene this morning. There was the crime scene yellow tape, the police cars, the detectives walking around the yard. Crowds were gathering, and as I drove past there was that sick feeling in my stomach…not just that something bad had happened, but that sense that it was just an indicator of so much bad that is happening, not just here, but all around us, mostly hidden in the shadows, but so very present and real.
It turns out that there were two victims. One was a 16 year old, and one was a 25 year old that at one point had been a great friend of a son of mine. He was a bright light, a great athlete, a young father, a likable kid who had a lot of aspirations and hopes. My son called me this afternoon with the news and was heartbroken. I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of this young man’s story, but I do know that he had a lot of dreams and wanted to break free from some of the difficulties of his surroundings.
He is so not alone. And it reminded me of the need to call out…to actively look for solutions rather than settling in to the path of least resistance. The easy way is so often the hardest way, and the consequences of choices made can impact not only us, but so many in our midst, and not just now, but for years and even lifetimes. Is that heavy or enlightening? Well, it pretty much depends on the kind of choices we make in the day in day out moments of our lives. Anyway, I’ve been aware of so many needs all around me this week, and as I sat down, out poured this little poem.
What if I crumble
What if I fall
What if i tumble, lose my ground, lose my all?
What if I stumble
What if I fall
Could I be humble enough to call?
To cry out loud
To call, to plea
To find my voice, to feel my gut, to see my need
What if I crumble
What if I fall
Who would hear my cry
Who would answer the call?
He lifts the humble
He fills the need
Refuge, Redeemer, the One who Sees
He sees the humble
He sees it all
Whether we crumble, whether we stand
Whether we’re silent or we call
He sees the humble
He sees it all
He sees the need, the fix, the key
but He won’t tear down the wall
He will knock gently
He’ll make Himself known
But it is ours to do the calling
To be known and seek to know
He will allow us
to choose our own way
Would that quickly see Freedom comes with grace
Grace that won’t stumble
Grace that won’t fall
Grace that breathes life and offers hope
To the One who calls
may the falls that lead to calls
lead to change
of amazing grace.
So maybe this doesn’t seem like a Thankful Thursday post. But it is. Because I’m thankful for the awareness of needs. Because awareness and acknowledgement of needs can lead to change. Deep life-giving transformation. That’s my thought…
I’m working with students from the Boys and Girls Club this week. They have been coming to a beautiful historical mansion, learning history, interacting with speakers, doing hands-on science and art projects. I have absolutely LOVED getting to know these students, and we’ve talked a lot about gaps and needs, and what it means to be part of community.
Healthy communities have needs and those who meet the needs. The cool thing is, one moment you might be one who needs, and the next you might be one who fills the need. That’s the beauty of connections—oftentimes, the connections made are the result of needs acknowledged and needs filled, the bridge between resource and gaps, the link between a void here and a filler there. And we all have needs, and we all have resources. Am thinking availability and awareness of our own needs and resources is key.
Even those who have great resources have needs. I mean that’s a no-brainer. We all have needs. I saw that so clearly this week. An older woman who was related to those who lived in the historic home came to speak with us. The students sang and shared. She listened. Then she shared and the students listened. A give and take, a meeting in the middle. As this older woman, ( a Harvard grad who had once run bank) got up to leave, it was apparent she needed a steady hand. Well, we could provide that. We all have something to give. (And of course, we all have needs.) Yes, a meeting in the middle is a good thing.
In this room, the beauty was so NOT in the furnishings at all. It was in the living and breathing, thinking and feeling and interacting ones in the room. The beauty was celebrated in the connections made. Later on, we talked about things in common and differences. Comparing can be good when we see the needs and the resources on all sides, that is, when the value, the incredibly different things which we can offer are acknowledged. ( I’m thinking that it’s often when we all feel like things have to look the same that we can get in to trouble. )
I could write a book about the things i’m thinking right now. My heart is full and hurting at the same time. Because, that’s the thing….there are just so many needs everywhere. Even when the signs of the needs aren’t visible, there are needs there too. And there are resources. When the deficits and resources meet in the middle it’s a beautiful thing. Kind of like a Venn Diagram ~ the beauty of the connection comes in the overlap,the common ground.
I had the privilege of standing on some common ground this week…where worlds collided and minds met and connections were made. It was fun and entertaining and informative. I got to know some really cool kids ~ to teach, interact, listen, and play with them. I was inspired by a few in a deep, deep way. One student rides his bike to the B&G Club every morning. This 10 year old gets himself up, travels a few miles on his bike and then travels the same way on the road back home. He laughs heartily and is kind to those around him. He has some physical limitations, but he is more fully alive than so many in his midst. Yep. I was pretty inspired by that kids. And I let him know it. He smiled big.
I don’t have answers for the world’s needs. They are too big. But so much of the way these big huge cosmic needs are met, are by one person at a time, one choice at a time, one resource and gap meeting together at a time. So, here’s to offering what we can when we can to who we can. And not only that, here’s to being vulnerable, to an admission of needs. to allowing others to give to us. Pride builds walls. Humility makes them crumble.
So, what if we crumble? What if we fall? God is the greatest meeter of needs, advocate, and friend (even when we don’t fall and aren’t quite aware of our need…) He is the King of mediating. Jesus came as a bridge to connect. Connect who? God and us. Not for condemnation, but for a meeting of needs, a connection, a relationship. What if we stumble? What if we fall? We can cry out, lift our voice to God…to call. I love the verse that says, “When he calls out to Me, I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver and honor him. (Psalm 91:16) I’ve seen it time and time again in my life and the lives of others, God’s Redeeming Love. It reaches in and meets a need and changes everything.
I hope I don’t see a crime scene for awhile. I so wish that the choices made last night had not been made and that lives had not been taken. But times like this strike an urgency in the heart…to live well. To love well and do what we can. Sometimes doing what we can is offering. Sometimes it’s about receiving. But either way, I’m thinking that it’s a good good thing to make attempts to stand in the middle of our Venn-Diagram World, seeing both sides of whoever is in our midst, and to remember that we are all valuable resources and all needy in our own ways. . We can wear both hats, the label being determined by whether we’re meeting a need, or vulnerable to share our need. And the beauty is often in the “Who” that we meet in the middle. Common Ground is a good thing.