As some of if not all of you know, I have been more than a little bothered about the living conditions and state of mind of the home owner that my group worked with this summer at the Pittsburgh Project. Enough so that I spent a significant bit of time in prayer and contemplation. In fact as the rest of the group was watching fireworks at the Kernel’s game last week, I found myself contemplating what if anything I should do.
My initial reaction when we returned to IC was to jump right in and make something happen, the problem always was; What? In my mind there is a fine line between offering to assist and forcing. So what to do? Who do I call? I have resources, I have contacts, but what to do? Will I really make things better or will my action put Joe (the homeowner) on the street or result in a deteriorated relationship with the Pittsburgh Project. What will be the unintended consequences? Of course: There was also do nothing?
Now, I have seen a lot of hardship, lived in some in my youth and know that there are a lot of really bad (certainly by our standards) living conditions/life situations that people are in.
Fact: There are poor people in this world.
Fact: There are a lot of really difficult life circumstances in this world.
Fact: I can’t change every situation.
Also Fact, I have and do make a difference.
So after perhaps over complicating the situation: This past week I wrote to one of the staff at the Pittsburgh Project (Lauren) and asked her what more could be done. I mentioned and reiterated Joe’s living conditions in a very brief note. I let her know at bit of my background with Matthew 25 and other life experience. I made sure to let them know that I felt this situation was exceptionally bad. Then I simply asked what more could be done?
This morning I received a phone call at 7AM (cst) from Dave Herr, the Director of Homeowner Services. You may remember Dave as the older guy that seemed to run things and did the safety talk. Dave wanted to thank me for the reminder that sometimes they get so stuck in acceptance of bad stuff, that the bad stuff then seems normal. Dave expressed great gratitude for my email and said that they were very moved by it. While he was very careful to say that they could not make Joe do anything, they would make him aware of a cleaning service that is available via the Human Services department. Dave also shared that Joe is one of the folks that they hear from on a regular basis.
My friends, I am under no illusion that what will happen will totally and completely change Joe’s life. However, I also know that just the act of reaching out can matter. I also have no doubt that after talking with Dave, my email and the return call today, will result in the Pittsburgh Project as least thinking about how they can further positively impact those they touch.
Fact: We each have gifts and talents. These gifts and talents are unique to each of us.
One final Thought: With one small act and perhaps a bit of contemplation (aka: Your way of prayer), you can and do make a difference.
May blessing find each of you!