It has been a while since I have written anything encouraging. I realized this morning as I sat reviewing the most recent writings that I am using this space for the hurt again and not the joy. I wanted to turn a new leaf and it seems that the leaf has found its way face down on the ground.
So today I will turn it over again. I have not been inspired by any great experience or any significant event, I have just been touched by the Lord and His grace. A Grace that not only do I not deserve but that I far too often take for granted.
I saw a political commercial today, (no I am not going to delve into politics so stay with me), and in that commercial it talked about our divided country and showed how we have divided ourselves into successes and failures. During this commercial the image shown when success was spoken was a large mansion with a fancy car in the driveway, and the image shown for failure was a rough house in a rough neighborhood.
You know what struck me? What struck me was the fact that those who are struggling are considered failures.
Have you ever tried to make it on a shoestring budget? Have you ever worried that the next paycheck would not be enough to cover the bills, let alone have any extra for emergency? Have you ever had to work and not dare miss a day for fear of losing your job, your house, your kids? I suspect the majority of those reading this will say no.
A couple of weeks ago, after leaving a sporting event the folks I was traveling with took a shortcut through a rough neighborhood. As I sat gazing out the window at the homes and the people outside, for the first time I looked through different eyes at the scene around me. In one yard a group of young elementary kids played happily together, only one little girl had shoes on her feet. In another yard a picnic had been set up and there were folks gathered together under a decorated tree perhaps celebrating a birthday. As an elderly man walked past one gentleman ran to the fence with a sandwich and offered it to the man, asking nothing in return. These houses were in bad shape, and as a whole the neighborhood was run down, windows boarded up, peeling paint, sagging steps on porches, but here was a group of people giving. Should we label them as failures?
There was one moment in particular that will stick with me forever. While waiting for green I saw an elderly man sitting on a porch with a young man sitting on the steps in front of him. The boy couldn’t have been more than 19. This young man looked strong and capable, his face looked mean and scary, but his eyes looked sad and lonely. I don’t know his story, I don’t know his life but seeing a gang tattoo on his arm and the tell-tale teardrop on his face suggested that he had made some choices that would follow him for the rest of his life.
How did he end up in this situation? Just two blocks away a gathering of family and friends celebrated some event, yet here sat a boy who, at some point, needed someone to look at him for who he was meant to be and not for his boarded up house and worn out sneakers. Here was a young man who was full of potential as a boy, yet circumstances likely worked against him throughout his childhood and he may not have been given a chance to get out. How can we let this continue? How can we help? I know throwing money at the problem is not the solution, so perhaps the solution lies within our hearts. Perhaps helping someone onto the path of success, is giving them a different outlook on themselves, on their circumstances, on life.
What is success? What is failure? I believe failure is turning a blind eye to those who are in need. I believe the man who ran to give a sandwich to a homeless guy has more success under his belt than the CEO of the biggest company in the world.
What success will you have today? What impact will you have on someone else. Don’t let today pass without giving a little bit of hope to someone who is lost and hurting. That is success!