Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Carrying a heavy heart

Tonight I write with a heavy heart. I have had a sobbering day. As I sit in the quietness of my warm house with my toasty blanket across my lap I can't help but think how lucky I am. I have gotten to talk to my friends today and my family. My husband is in the other room studying for a test that will advance his career and our lives. My doggie-daughters are all snug in their beds. I just had a warm bowl of soup. I have a cozy bed to retire to in a few minutes. I worship a loving God. I have money for gas and food tomorrow. There is also food in the pantry. I have a job to go to tomorrow. I have, in essence, so many things to be thankful for yet realizing that so many people don't makes my heart heavy.

I guess this story starts yesterday. My husband brought home a paper that was being sold by a homeless man in Nashville. He told me about the paper a few weeks ago and I told him to buy one so we could check it out. The paper is actually what they refer to as a street newspaper. It is called The Contributer. It's purpose and goal is to highlight the many facets of the homeless population in the city of Nashville and beyond. You should check out the newspaper at At any rate...I read the paper and really learned about what is going on right under my nose. It is largely produced by private donantions and features articles written by homeless men and women and formerly homeless men and women. Homeless men and women have the opportunity to try selling the papers at no cost to them. If they like the prospect then they can go back and purchase copies of the paper for a quarter. In turn, they sell the paper for 1.00 making a .75 cent profit. This provides an alternative to pan-handeling. A totally brilliant idea in my opinion. At any rate, the stories in the paper are sobering.

Today, I was home from work. (I have had flu-like symptoms for a few days.) So, I watched an episode of Oprah which I never do. However, she was highlighting the faces of the current recession. She featured grown men and women living in a tent city in Sacramento, CA much like the one we have in Nashville. Many of them simply had their lives destroyed when their industry went under when the economy went south. The do not tell their children that they are homeless. They don't want to burden them. A mother of three was featured, also. She and her husband got trapped in the sub-prime mortgage crisis, lost their jobs, their home and then their apartment. Now the mother walks the streets with her kids and lives between two shelters when there is room. Like most Americans, they were already living paycheck to paycheck and now they are at a crisis.

This evening, I talked to my friend and found out that her friend's husband is headed to Afghanistan Sunday. This will be his third or fourth deployment. They are a young couple and they have two small children at home. They told him to plan on being gone for eight months.

So tonight, my heart is heavy. I pray for those that are going without tonight and for those that are far from their families in harm's way. I also pray that we would have our eyes and our hearts more widely open to the things going on in our own backyards. I pray that we can find ways to extend ourselves to others in difficult economic times. I pray that we can do some small thing to make the lives of others a little bit easier everyday. I pray that we would look at our lives and see how we can serve others. I pray most of all that we know how fortunate we are and that we thank God daily for all the ways he has blessed our individual lives.


hollyrenee said...

Hi Jennifer...remember me? I'm pretty sure we had our training together at Bethany...orientation last January, right? I hopped onto your blog from Rebekah's...small world! How is everything going for you two? I'd love to keep in touch; all of my other blog friends live far away!