This morning we were in the car line a bit early for my taste. It takes perfect timing to hit it just right. Not so far back the kids are rushed to get to class, not so far forward you are forced to wait until the doors open… We were thrown off by the fact that Arleigh told me last night just after everyone was bathed and in their jammies that she needed a nine volt battery for science class. An early morning Walgreen’s trip was in my future.
So sitting in the car line the fabled limo appeared. The big girls have been telling me for weeks that there is a girl who arrives every morning via limo. I hadn’t seen it. Apparently she was the talk of the town. There set the limo, directly behind me, glaring into my rearview. The girls could not contain themselves. You would think Justin Bieber was behind us. I got to spend several minutes explaining to the girls that “Susie’s” daddy might be driving the limo to pay the bills. Isn’t she lucky that she has a Daddy who cares enough about her to drive her to school in his limo. It can’t be that she is so wealthy… etc. You get the picture.
The bell rang. The girls got out and rushed to school. It was my turn to notice little “Susie.” She got out of that limo like she was Paris Hilton hitting the read carpet. I’ve never seen such a swagger on a little girl with braids and glasses. She barely glanced back at the limo. I’m still processing the sight of it all. I’m still processing it so much, I don’t have the words to explain what I was thinking even now.
So today, after I picked Bria up from school and went to a couple of stores. We were chatting and singing away when I got to our exit. There was a homeless man there. Bria saw him first.
“Why he’s in the rain Mama?”
“Because he doesn’t have a home honey. Just a minute.”
I rolled down my window to talk to him. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t have a homeless packet in my van. Last summer I kept one. Most of the time they were provided by our church. It held bottled water, protein bars or crackers, wipes, toothbrush, hand sanitizer, etc. It also held information on the Hope Works program…how to get there… how they could get your life back on track. I handed him a couple of dollars and asked if he had heard of Hope Works. He looked at me like I was crazy. I told him they would help him get on his feet if he could just get there. He started to walk away. I couldn’t even tell him that I would pray for him. He was moving on to the next car, the next hand waving money.
As I pulled away Bria said, “Why him doesn’t have a house?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes people have a hard time. He probably doesn’t have a job to pay for his house.”
“It’s raining Mama. How come people with a house won’t let him in?”
“Because they are scared.”
“That’s mean. People with houses should let him in. It’s raining.”
All from a three year old in the backseat. She never asked why I didn’t let him in our house. I’m really not sure what I would have said.
All day I’ve wondered how do you grow counter culture kids in this environment? In this land of big houses and limos, how do I make them aware of the have nots? How to I make my kids so compassionate they are eager to give up what they have for the have nots instead of accumulating the material things. For that matter, could someone teach me the same thing? I think I’m looking at a sleepless night.