During the month of May we presented a weekly challenge for our church to help us understand how others in the world live. The idea was to walk in someone's shoes to see what it would be like to live in a culture where poverty was the norm. I have been to Mexico several times and I have seen poverty. I have recently been to Kenya and I have seen a people group living without basic necessities - such as clean water. I have watched on the news and seen the devastation in places like Haiti which was very poor to start with.
The first week's challenge was to live without power. Starting on Monday we turned off all the electrical breakers to our house except the one which powered our fridge. The experience was actually very good for us as a family. We talked more. We played games together. We discussed the way people in foreign places lived without electricity.
Ironically, late Tuesday night Bonnie discovered that her cell phone charger was missing and since our home phone would not work without power she was somewhat desperate to get a new charger so that she could take it to work and pirate enough power to charge her phone. Being the kind, considerate, loving, husband I volunteered to head out to Wal-Mart to see if we could remedy this problem.
As I turned off our street to head to Wal-Mart I noticed a gentleman walking past our street. I don't know why I noticed him. I see people walking all the time and routinely pass them without a second look. But for some reason I noticed this guy. Maybe it was the way he walked with purpose. Maybe it was that he was dressed in a uniform as though he was coming home from work. Maybe it was the week in which we were involved in that made me more in tune to others around me. But for whatever reason I noticed him and was compelled to turn around and ask if he needed a ride. So after a few blocks of waffle, I turned around and picked him up. This older gentleman was indeed walking home from work. He told me that he was a janitor or "floor technician" at one of the local Middle Schools. He had finished his shift and his ride did not show, so he was walking. I quickly calculated that he had already walked about 4 miles and when he told me where he lived I guessed he still had another 3 miles to go. I was glad to give this guy a ride. He seemed to be a hard working man who needed a ride home from a long day of work.
As we approached his neighborhood, he began to tell me that he and his brother were living in a house they had inherited from their father and that it needed some fixing. I don't know why he felt like telling me this. I guess it was just something he was thinking about and when you are with a stranger sometimes you will find yourself talking about stuff for no reason just to keep a conversation going. As we pulled into the driveway of this house he said these words, "Right now we are living without power." I think I said something spiritual and profound like, "Really?" as he exited my car.
I checked with the city the next day, there are less than 1% of our city who live without power. And part of that small percentage stepped into my car the week we are living without power. Again, "really?"
I don't know exactly where this will lead, but I do know that God is teaching me.