Today a group of us from the KK went to volunteer at Glide Memorial's Annual Grocery Bag Giveaway. It was one of the biggest of the program's eighteen-year history and a lot of folks received food. There were a lot of thoughts knocking around in my head as I processed what was going on. I was part of the Security team, you know, because I strike such an imposing figure.
1. The TL is a difficult place. At one point we were stationed along the line in front of a corner store. There was a sign posted near the door that stated that dealing drugs there would not be tolerated and would be reported. However, at the time we were standing there, the guy from Miller was unloading case after case of beer, Colt 45, Olde English, etc. Just because they're legal doesn't make them beneficial, and in that neighborhood it's feeding addictions the same way pushing heroine would be.
2. I wonder what happened to people to have them living like that. I saw people who were clearly on drugs, mentally ill, prostitutes, and one pregnant woman who was smoking and looked stoned. My parents have a friend who was on drugs for most of his life and his mother had been a dealer and he's always said that he never knew he could choose a different way. I wonder if that's the case in some of these situations. It makes me so sad and I want to fix it all, but I know that they have to have both the desire and the opportunity. But, I feel as Christians, we are all called to create the opportunities for people to step out into a better life, regardless of their response.
3. Because I was working security, I saw the side of the event where people were taking advantage. I saw people who would go through the line and get their food and then run around and go back and try to get more. Then, they would take their food right down the street, in full view, and sell the groceries to other people. Again, another situation where we have to do what we're told and not try to control the outcome, but that is so difficult. It is so natural for me to want to withhold from someone I believe won't appreciate my efforts, but it's not about that. It's about being who I'm called to be.