What do we do?

Today I spent a few hours with a homeless neighbor and her two young kids. We travelled down to Long Beach to see about getting them set up at a longer term shelter.

I wish I could say that throughout the whole process I remained utterly selfless, acting in the Jesus-like way that I'm supposed to. Sadly, I did not. After two hours of trying to entertain energetic preschool boys in a crowded government facility, I was less than chipper. I was concerned about when I was going to get lunch, somehow forgetting that this mom didn't even know if she was going to eat again in the near future.

Despite the imperfections in my attitude, I learned a lot about a piece of society that I don't often interact with. Long lines, endless referrals, dirty conditions, and judgmental attitudes are realities that this mom has to deal with every day. As I sat with her today, the questions kept rolling through my mind, "How can I best help her? What am I supposed to do? Is there any hope at all?".

I wanted to save the world in one afternoon. It's not going to happen. But I can start with being kind, with treating her as my friend and neighbor, rather than my client. I can choose allow my heart to be broken by the poverty of body and soul that I saw today. And I can pray.

What can you do?