Date: May 2011
Setting: We took an evening in Romania to explore the city. We went from museum to museum to learn more about the people and culture. What shocked me was the homelessness, desperation and pain I saw in the people around me. Many walked past the young gypsy children and the homeless without really seeing them. They had become used to the pain around them and were desensitized. I was new to the scene, however, so I wrote this blog as we travelled from place to place that evening.
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This world is such a bitter place. I’ve seen tears of the homeless and disaster after a storm but nothing like what I’ve seen here in Romania. The question I must ask myself is this: Is the world actually worse on the other side, or were my eyes always shut like those around me.
I hate to think that I closed a blind eye to the sadness of another’s misery because I was consumed in my frolics of fun. But when I see what I’ve seen tonight it tugs at my Spirit.
A child begging in the streets. Others pass by and comment on how sad it is. Yet in the next moment they joke with those around. How does that not burden a heart? The gypsy mother is just sitting on the corner, raising her babies to follow in the lifestyle she has probably known since she was a child. She watches while holding her infant close. It’s a chilly night. We continue, going from museum to museum during this night of white out. People are smiling, laughing, dancing; having the time of their lives. We happen to stumble across an outdoor artistic expression beside the National Theatre. A beautiful sight. So we take pictures and pose. Something to remember the rest of our lives. But in my mind I can only see the shadowed face of the little boy begging the onlookers.
I re-focus. This is a night to have fun after all. Take off the jacket of ministry and put on the scarf of relaxation. I look to my left and see a bride. A beautiful Romanian woman in the pure white of her wedding day. I see the joy on her face and the laughter in her eyes. Such a beautiful…
Wait, what do I see on the bench right next to her? In the background of her photo shoot. I doubt she sees it. For today is her day. But I can’t help but hurt for the broken woman sleeping on the cold bench. Her face in a bag to keep from the midnight chill. She is waiting for no one. Just following her nightly routine. We are moving into springtime but I can’t begin to imagine how difficult the Romanian winter was on her bare cheeks. Yet the bride continues. Don’t forget, the day’s about her after all.
“Are we bound by normality with hardened hearts toward the hurting?”
I don’t understand the world I live in. Where pain and desperation run ramped, yet aren’t recognized by those more fortunate. I have to wonder are we really more fortunate after all, those who don’t even carry the heart of our loving creator. Or, are we bound by normality with hardened hearts toward the hurting. God fix my heart to look like yours. I understand that it is a big burden to hold, but I don’t want to continue to pray a prayer to look like you and only choose the characteristics that suit me best. I’ve heard it said, “I want to love what you love, and hate what you hate,” but I ask today more than ever, make that real to me, oh God. Give me your eyes to see the hurting. Give me your hands to lift the weak. Give me your arms to hold the weary. Give me your lips to speak a word of comfort. Give me your feet to go after the lost sheep. But most of all, give me your heart to love your people, and to see that we are all equal in your eyes. From the child begging for money to the bride dressed in white. From the laughing faces that surround me to the woman on a park bench. Show me what it means to love, my God.