Friday, November 16, 2007

What´s Wrong With Me

About a week or two ago I had an experience that allowed me to see a very disturbing side of myself. A side of myself that I´m not proud to reveal. I still feel guilty about what I saw and refused to act upon . . .

It was late one night, after Brian´s baseball game, probably around midnight. Brian and I walked back to our hotel, but decided to go a few blocks further to buy some food at a local convenience store called the Oxxo (ox-oh). It was very dark, and very few people were out. As we approached the store I noticed a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. I didn´t see his face. I didn´t need to. I could tell he was homeless just from looking at his feet. They were so dirty they were black. He wasn´t begging for money, he was just sitting there, head down.

Being careful not to stare, I quickly glanced away. When we stepped into the Oxxo Brian said in shock, ¨Did you see that person?¨ I replied affirmitively, but was surprised by my husband´s intense concern and shock and asked, ¨Yes, why?¨ Brian preceded to tell me that he´d never seen someone in such bad shape. In my haste to look away I missed the fact that this man´s skin was covered in boils. I could tell by the look on my husband´s face that it was a horrifying sight. Brian mentioned something about buying him some food while we were in the store, but we didn´t. I don´t know why. We should have. Unfortunately, that´s not the most disturbing part of this story. As we walked out of the store, I again, was careful not to stare. Brian couldn´t help it. He was too burdened for this person.

Once we crossed the street Brian stopped and said something to the effect of, ¨I feel like I should go back and give him some money.¨ Something deep within me exclaimed, ¨Yes! Yes! That poor man needs help. Show him generosity.¨ But I began to rationalize. It felt dangerous, it was so dark out. I was scared. What if he was a madman, went crazy on us, or passed his disease along to us? (If you want to puke at my selfishness right now I wouldn´t blame you). Brian probably saw my hesitation because he began to walk in the direction of the hotel. As we were walking back I prayed, ¨Lord, if you want us to help that man, please let us run into him again. Preferrably in daylight.¨ And a very gentle, yet convicting voice said, ¨but he´s here now.¨

I still didn´t turn around.

As I laid in bed that night, I was riddled with guilt. I bought food at the store when I wasn´t even hungry, I ignored a most likely very hungry individual, and now I´m laying in my warm bed while he´s probably trying to sleep on a concrete sidewalk. In America there are homeless shelters and places that feed hungry people, but I have no idea if they have things like that in Mexico.

I asked myself as I laid in there, ¨What stopped me from helping that man tonight?¨ The answer came quickly. ¨Fear.¨ Fear of all the selfish things I described earlier: what if he goes crazy on us, follows us back to our hotel, touches us and gives us his disease? I think I even feared what I would see if I looked at him. The Bible says I am supposed to be an imitator of Christ. Jesus would have demonstrated His love for that man. Jesus was never afraid of a leper, but I was.

I wish I would have turned around. I wish I would have bent down and placed some food and money at his feet. And even though I can´t speak his language, I wish I just would´ve looked into his eyes and held his gaze so that he might see the love that God has for him. I believe that God would have communicated this to him, had I only turned around. It would have been worth it. Even if he scared me or did something weird.

It´s people like that homeless man that I believe God is referring to when He says, ¨But many who are first will be last, and the last first.¨ If I see that man in heaven, I will rejoice to see him in front of me.


Anonymous said...

Wow...I really don't know what to say but feel I should say something. You and Brian are both amazing people who do amazing things each day of your lives in the name of Christ. I believe it is easy to become desensitized to the horrors of this world and to be fearful of the unknown... especially being in a foreign country. Perhaps this was just intended as an awakening experience for you that you've successfully processed and learned from. Do not riddle yourself with guilt. You don't deserve that. You've "awakened" me just by writing about it and I probably needed to hear the lesson as well. I will miss you guys at Thanksgiving. And I love you dearly!

Erin and Todd said...

What an amazing entry. You shouldn't feel so guilty about this. You've obviously learned from this and haven't been able to stop thinking about this man. You've also opened my heart to him and to others in this area that are in a similar situation.I hope that you and Brian have a very happy Thanksgiving. I know that everyone you've encountered down there can see Jesus in you.

stew said...

don't be so hard on yourself LA. I honestly have done the same thing, or something very similar. I think everything you thought are all very natural thoughts. When faced with the same thing it always makes me realize how great Jesus really is, and how grateful we should be.

Melissa Merkel said...

It amazes me how you are able to be so vulnerable in your entries...and honest...

Sweet heart, the Holy Spirit is obviously alive and well in you if He is able to stir such thought and emotion from this incident. You are obedient in so many ways, and are sensitive to the spirit and willing to learn when He is teaching. This is just one of those times. Love you sweet pea, glad you are coming back home soon.