Friday, September 08, 2006
Dan Lowe, one of our dear brothers in the JCLF, wanted me to post this reflection that he wrote:
Walking to Tolly Ho today, I realized something that had been stewing in me for the past few weeks. Having ventured into Lexington in order to visit with my friend Billy, I got my first taste of the streets of Lexington; this was almost three weeks ago. The experience didn't leave me; it didn't exactly scream out at me; it just sat, waiting, until I would visit its world again. I saw that world again, today. At the intersection of Avenue of Champions and S. Limestone, there are two worlds colliding with one another. The most obvious world is that of business shop owners, scantily clad college females, and the young men checking them out. Pizza shop, burger joint, night club; the makings of great college business and the drawing of young people. The other world isn't so obvious; it's a world of street walkers, of people who have become their own community, talking to themselves, a heart breaking sight indeed. Or there's Paul, one who converses with himself, whose bicycle is laden with all sorts of who knows what. There's the young man with a long black pony tail and what appeared to be a tooth or bone necklace around his neck sitting in front of the record store. He glanced up at us today and said hello. Or there's Junior who appears to have irritated a young metrosexual male and is being interviewed by the police because of it. Yet this world of homeless people, street folk, tramps, seems to be invisible to the college/business/everybody else world. And to me, it seems as though the invisible reality of very broken, vulnerable people are walking into the open, as though they have come from the darkness into the light. They've always been there; I just could not see them until now. And you know what the kicker is? I saw Jesus today in Phoenix park. I saw him in the eyes of a man named Dave who poured out words of love and thanks to Billy for all that Billy had done for him, the greatest thing seems to have been allowing him to sleep on the High Street front porch with his on and off girlfriend, Betty. Dave said a lot of things; most of those things I don't remember, but one thing that he said struck me to the very core of my person, especially when, later, the Holy Spirit challenged me on what I had heard. Dave said this, "You know, friends make you feel good; your enemies make you hurt." It was like one of those words folks just wait to hear from prophets and teachers; and here I was, talking to a homeless guy with very few teeth, speaking words of utter truth. Later, as Billy and I were closing our day, we were praying and I thought about Dave's words. As I thought, I wept for the friends that I have who live in Philadelphia (Shane Claiborne) or in a big black bus traversing the country (Psalters), or my friends Geoff and Sherry who will be leaving for Australia soon; you know, the people you rarely get to see but who you love with a love deeper than most others. And it was then that the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray that Jesus would make my embrace larger so that I might even embrace my enemies. May it be so; may Christ widen my embrace.