Reaching out a hand…and then holding that hand
Matthew 25:40, NIV “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Luke 10:27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
On my way to work in the morning, I see kids on their way to Irving Middle School in my neighborhood. They look so vulnerable, and they remind me of my childhood, getting ready for school and the anxiety that it would sometimes bring. One of my memories is of being five years old and waiting for the bus on the first day of kindergarten, and seeing it pull up in front of our home (instead of at the end of the driveway, which would be where it would park in the years to come) so yellow and gigantic, with all of those BIG KIDS on it. I was petrified, and my mother sensed it. She told the bus driver that she’d be bringing me to school that first morning. In the years to come, while I became comfortable riding the bus, I never got over that “the bus is here, we’re not ready!” feeling when it would arrive early. I can still see it, a silhouette lumbering along the horizon as it came around the township road to our country driveway.
Each day, we come across people who are hiding their vulnerabilities, or perhaps not hiding their vulnerabilities…people who are insecure, lonely, depressed, needing help. While reaching out to them and wanting to help them is great, I think we often do it from a standpoint of feeling removed from their situation, or that we’re better equipped to deal with life’s curveballs. We congratulate ourselves that we’ve done our good deed for the day, but we don’t want to get too close. We feel more in control of our own lives, and, while that may be true, I think when we put ourselves in one box and others in a different box, we miss out on wonderful friendships and opportunities to grow AND to show God’s love…opportunities that God has put in our path.
Prayer: Lord, help me to open my eyes and notice those who may be vulnerable in our society. Help me realize we are all vulnerable at some point, and in need of love, care, and compassion. Show me opportunities to reach out and really befriend someone in need, not just give them a lift up and then keep them at arm’s length. Amen.
Contributed by Donna Gustafson