Reconciliation at Breakfast
How often do we become so concerned with our own needs and wants that we forget about the needs and wants of others? How about the needs and wants of our homeless neighbors? I know that, personally, I am incredibly guilty of this. Although I am passionate about caring for the homeless, there are STILL times that I simply say “no” and give a passing glance when I am asked by someone if I have any change to spare. I don’t always have the courtesy to look the person in the eye, smile, and acknowledge their existence. How does this make me seem, as a Christian, and how many bridges have I burned with my lack of consideration? This is why Reconciliation is one of the core aspects of Christian Community Development. It’s a needed basis for all other progress to be built upon.
This last Saturday, I was able to attend my first Saturday morning breakfast with some of the homeless neighbors of Bellflower. It was here that I was reminded what reconciliation among groups of people can look like and how powerful that relationship can truly be. I was so impressed by the Kingdom Causes employee that I was shadowing on that first day, because she was such a great example of person-to-person reconciliation. She brought her entire family every single week – all four children and her husband – to be involved with the breakfast and cultivate relationships with the homeless individuals in our community. To her family, this is a norm. Somebody at the breakfast remarked how the one-year-old daughter had likely been held by every person who was in the room that morning. Their lives are so naturally integrated with one another’s – how many of us can say the same? Because of reconciliation, there were no “us” and “them” groups at the breakfast. I heard this family say to the homeless neighbors, “If you need a ride later, call me, you have my number” and “I’ll call you later to check on you and see if you’re still feeling sick.” At one point in the breakfast, a woman was telling a story about how her bike had been stolen that week for the second time. As soon as they heard this, I saw the volunteering couple consult each other for less than one minute, and then say to the woman that they had a bike that she could have. In fact, the husband went and retrieved the bike from their home almost immediately, for her to take. This breakfast reminded me of the life that I want to live – a life of reconciliation, generosity, and genuine care for everyone.