Filling the Bleachers.


“Rachel, guess what?!” I heard Linda yelling at me just before she came into eyesight and bounded into my office. “Guess where I’ve been… go on, guess…okay no, you don’t need to! I’ve been at a treatment center for three weeks and have been clean and sober for 13 days!”

“Thirteen days?! That is AMAZING! I am so proud of you!”

And it is.

And I am.

Because truthfully, the part of me that is not as polish and ready to advocate at a moment’s notice, the part that’s a bit uglier, as it questions the goodness of grace and doesn’t always believe that people can and will change, doubted this day would ever come.

Linda and I have known each other for coming up on two years now. Most days she’s incredibly sweet, but she has had a rough, rough life from the start. Many would look at her past timeline and assume that the choice is all hers and in some ways, it is. Linda has made plenty of decisions that have been less than an ideal, but she’s also made plenty that should be admired – even greater however, because of her struggles, she’s had many decision made for her, as others have move and manipulate her in a way that could confuse and damage any one of us.

But she’s still choosing to fight.

She’s choosing to make new choices, ones that will, by God’s grace, bring healing and peace.

But you know what? Even if tomorrow she decides to turn back to her to her demons and give up the fight for way of her vices, she will still have me and she’ll still have 13 days in the year 2014 where she fought her heart out and made healthy choices.

And that is something to celebrate.bleachers

Because the reality is, just like any change we make in life, most people who get clean and sober after years and years of substance abuse do so cyclically – it’s rarely a one-time deal, to choose sobriety and never look back. Studies show that the majority of people who go to treatment do so several times before they are actually able to maintain sobriety. But each step forward is a step to celebrate. Each healthy decision didn’t have to be so and choosing to cheer these decisions on instead of chastising the past screams “I love you and I believe in you” to its recipient.

I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of friend/counselor/sister/human I want to be. I want to be someone who believes in change and is willing to walk and fight alongside those embarking on it, no matter what the circumstances may be. Because at the end of the day, I am not different, I am not better and I too need the bleachers filled with a cheering section from time to time, reminding me that I can do it and I am worth it.

Let’s love well celebrate with each other today, ok?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I Am Not the Voice of the Voiceless.

I am not the voice of the voiceless. (And neither are you.)

I’m sorry if that doesn’t sit well with some of you, but it needs to be said.

The “voice of the voiceless”… I keep hearing this expression. It seems have taken on legs and now walks around inflating the egos of the privileged and often self-appointed voice boxes- drawing attention to those “fighting for injustice,” and stealing attention away from those they claim to serve.

Okay, perhaps if you work for PETA or ASPCA I could get behind said moniker… because unlike humans, animals cannot speak. But humans can indeed – people are not voiceless. Each human has a voice, but sadly, many who would love to use theirs have been silenced.

Silenced by broken systems, abuse, and oppression.

Silenced by the way they have been dismissed and overlooked because of the color of their skin, their gender, their social class, or some other less than desirable characteristic shunned by society at large.

Silenced by fear.

Silenced by exhaustion as some simply got tired of their desperate pleas falling on deaf ears of the elected.

But they are not voiceless.

I spend a good portion of my life walking beside homeless and formerly homeless people and yes, I do speak out on their behalf, because whatever the different reasons may be (accessibility, vague understanding of both worlds, college-bred ability to articulate my words onto paper), my voice is heard louder. But the reality is, everything I am saying I learned from my friends who have been there or are there now.

I have never been homeless, in fact, I’ve never even come close. I know far more what it’s like to live in affluent neighborhoods than I do on the street or in my car. But I listen and take notes and do my best to hear what I am being told and then yes, I speak out. And I am proud and honored to do so.

I absolutely love writing about this community that I have been lucky enough to be invited into, and I love, love, love hearing others’ stories of truth and justice in return. But, in the same way that I am not your voice, I am not theirs either — they are. I am simply groomed (err, sorta) and have been trained by the world as to what my place is…and so have they. The difference is, many marginalized and disenfranchised people have been conditioned to believe that their voice is less powerful, less worthy, or less pleasing.

Please know, I am guilty of this too. I am not pointing the finger here without knowing full well that one (or several) are pointing back at me. I devour books about poverty written by those who don’t know it, and I fall all over myself when I brush shoulders with my literary and activist heroes; only to turn around and dismiss the man in line at the store who is taking forever and rambling on and on and on, wasting my oh-so-precious time.

I’m in a hurry.

Does he not know that I am in a hurry?

He is not voiceless – but perhaps I am listenless.

This is not some self-righteous plea asking you to stop reading my words or writing your own, in fact, I hope you don’t. There is power in storytelling and hearing different accounts from different lenses and there is absolutely a time and place for advocacy and that is my heart’s desire; to speak up for my friends, not as their voice, but rather be my voice on their behalf, as the learn to reclaim their own.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Hit On By the Homeless…Dog.

I never really anticipated being the Crazy Dog Lady – I mean, it was never my intention at least. For 5 years I had been the obsessed owner of a sweet (albeit terrified of her own shadow) pit-bull, Bella and she was enough. But that changed the day my friend and co-worker Erin called and told me she had a mission for us.

A little wary and a lot busy, I was cautious when I asked her what this mission would be, but instead of telling me, up popped a picture of two cute little pups who were absolutely filthy and way too skinny. “We have to save these dogs, Rach, they are living outside the mission and don’t have any food or water. I can’t take it anymore.”

A little bit of wheeling and dealing later…okay fine, we actually bought the dogs off the homeless people who were “tending” to them (please don’t tell my boss)…we had two dogs on our hands in lots of need. Within 24 hours we’d washed, dried, fed (and fed and fed), gotten check-ups, shots, de-wormed (oh my gosh barf) and made appointments for our little homeless girls to get spayed and microchipped, all with the intention of adopting them out once we knew they were healthy.photo (6)photo (4)

As it turns out however, you have to be really, really strong to do that and oh my gosh, you can’t name them and if you do name them, you can’t pick the name you have always loved, Scout to pay homage to your favorite book, because that’s just dumb and you will obviously become attached.

And as you can probably guess, that was the week I became a 2-dog owner. (And Erin became a new dog owner.)

Whoops.

The thing is, this little girl is special. I’ve rescued quite a few dogs in my day (once while on a date. I know, I know, WEIRDO), but she was different. As I assume you all know, ‘cause duh I write this blog, I tend to root for the underdog. (get it?) My heart aches when I see someone or something with a need that I can fill and this little 4 legged creature was no different. In my heart, she is a survivor. She’s not all that big, but managed to take on the streets of Skid Row for the first year of her life and lived – that’s no small feat. I’m fairly certain I couldn’t say the same for myself if ever in that position. I couldn’t resist her, so she settled in to live with me and in fact, for the first few months, things were great. That is, until they weren’t.photo (2)

It started kind of subtly, my two pups would get in riffs here and there, but whatever, they’re dogs, YOLO, right? But one thing led to another to another and now here I am, looking for a new home for my little girl. A home where she is the only pup, as it turns out (thanks to lots of hours and money training her), although she loooooves the attention of people, her life on the streets left her little heart scarred and scared, which leads her to want to defend herself when she feels threatened by other k-9’s.

My heart is broken.

In a million pieces.

Who knew 20 pounds could take me out like this?

Honestly though, I don’t think she is much different than me. I too, have a tendency to want to lash out when I am scared and vulnerable, only usually mine comes out more in cutting words and emotional actions and less by showing my teeth, growling and scrapping. Maybe there’s a case study there for you, sociologists.scout3

So today, as I continue to house homeless people by day, I search, hunt and cry for a home for this little lady. A home where she will be loved and adored, where she will inevitably, in return, love and adore her owners. A home where she can be free to relax, cuddle and play, instead of looking over her shoulder in fear of other Benji wannabe’s.

If you think you might be or know someone who might be the keeper of this home, send them my way, wouldja? I can promise you a couple things if you do; I will be eternally grateful, I may show up at your doorstep on more than one occasion and you will be super loved by a sweet little ball of fur with a ridiculous waddle.scout 1Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You’ve Got to be Joking Me.

Mr. Luis: Hey Miss Rachel, I learned a new joke, wanna hear it?

Me: Sure! I love jokes.

Mr Luis: Does your face hurt?

Me: Yes, as a matter a fact, it does. I just got my wisdom teeth pulled and…

Mr Luis: Gahhhh!! You ruined everything! You were supposed to say “no” and then I would say “well it’s killing me!” Uggggh.

Me: Well I’m sorry, but my face really does hurt, so what, you want me to lie? I thought you’d appreciate my honesty.

Mr. Luis: You are going to be a crazy mom one day.

Me: Hmm, okay. I’m not sure I follow the correlation, but fair enough.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Cry for Peace.

Full disclosure: the last couple weeks have been ugly. I’ve been ugly. The internet’s been ugly. Everything has seemingly to take on the face of a monster and I’ve completely lost it. Twice. (Okay more like 6 times, but there were two really big breakdowns…uhh, both in public settings. Good grief.)

Between some crazy happenings here on Skid Row and the controversy regarding World Vision, at one point I really believed I might lose my sanity for good and with it my desire to keep going on this mission of reconciliation among those living in the margins.

Because honestly, I am tired. I am tired of fighting and I am tired of caring. Caring just seems to hurt.

I’m tired of feeling like I am the only one who stays up at night thinking about the things of this world that are amiss and the ways in which we are failing so many of our brothers and sisters. (I am not actually the only one, by the way.) I’m tired of watching people be battered and bruised and I’m tired feeling like all I do is scream about injustice all day long.

But somewhere along the lines I learned this; I don’t know how to not care. I don’t know how to sorta feel anything.

If you give me a topic, two differing viewpoints and 3 ½ minutes, I will come up with a stance that I am so passionate about you’d think I’d have devoted my whole life to it. Although this can be a positive catalyst, it also threatens to kill me.

Last week, during one of my two mental-breakdown-cryfests (while WALKING DOWN THE STREET talking into my headphones. I am an embarrassment.) I was talking to a friend and I stated through sobs “I just can’t, I can’t care anymore. I am done. This is the end of me. I have nothing left in me.” (No, I am not dramatic, stop judging me.)

In that moment I felt incredibly overwhelmed and like perhaps God had in fact simply forgotten what he’d set out to do in me. I was starting to resign myself to the idea that maybe He just wanted me to be miserable after all. Because that’s how I often feel when I look around at how many people are being hurt at the hands of the privileged; just miserable.

My dear, patient friend however, instead of jumping down the swirling sink with me, gently reminded me of the narrative in the Bible about the Israelites. In this story, God chose to carry his people out of exile by taking them through the desert for 40 years. (Am I the only one who easily forgets that, that is a long freaking time?)

While in the desert the Israelites wandered and cried (sounds familiar), often submitting themselves to the idea that perhaps they should just turn around and go back into oppression. WHAT THE WHAT?

Why would anyone willingly go back into slavery? Because they were scared. They’d hit a snag, freak out and begin to doubt that God had ever called them to such a crazy journey.

Maybe we read the signs wrong, maybe the miracles and proverbial open doors were just a coincidence. Maybe we were never meant for this life after all.

As anyone who has read Exodus knows, the Israelites did eventually make it to the Promised Land, finding freedom for their people for generations to come – but not without hardship, it wasn’t handed to them. Lives were lost, families were split, hearts were broken.

But in the end, the people of Israel were free.

Am I willing to endure the wandering, the heartache and the mess that comes with restoration, reconciliation and justice?

Yep, I am. But Lord help me because I am tired, teary and feeling awfully human these days.

So what does this mean? Where do I go from here? This crazed passion is embedded in my make-up. If I am to live into who I believe God has designed me to be, for Him, now is not the time to give up.

But perhaps now is the time pause, catch my breath, regroup and remember why I am here and WHO sent me – because if I don’t I’ll never make it. I will spit and sputter and eventually burnout. This is a marathon, not a sprint – I want to finish this race, not collapse somewhere in the chaos.

I want…no, I need to take some time to pray. I need to pray for the things that break my heart, not merely write, tweet and scream about them. Prayer has all too often become my last resort, not my first. This should never be.

I want to figure out how to use my voice to elicit only positive change. It often feels like everything I read whether on blogs, twitter, facebook or other social outlets, stems from some sort of anger or rebuttal.

I regularly find myself reading scathing or snarky words (sometimes my own) used to describe others as unkind, unjust or unbiblical, with words that are written with such a strong venom and condescension that they are not only muting the point, they’re tearing everyone down in their wake.

I want to be someone who stands up for what I believe in, not just for what I don’t. I want to extend grace in order to seek reconciliationrestoration and unity, even when I am angry and struggling to see the other side.

I don’t believe it’s wrong to be angry, but it’s what we do with that anger that will decide if we move toward peace or if we move toward destruction.

I want to defend the marginalized human, but not by way of destroying another human. I want to meet at the cross. I want to be kind and speak when I have something productive to say, while staying quiet when my words will only wound.

I want to join hands and pray for reconciliation and shalom together.

Will you join me?

 

If you are interested in writing out a prayer of your own for this site, with the purpose of ushering in reconciliation and justice, drop me a line on twitter, facebook or by email. (hitonbythehomeless@gmail.com)

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

March Against Excess: Day #31

Guys, we did it. Can you hear it? The cheers, the sighs of relief, the empty sounds of hollow closets. (That last one actually not true in my case, I still have a lot of crap to let go of before we’ll get anything close to an echo…baby steps, y’all.)

We made it through the March Against Excess. Thirty-one days of giving, complete.

Personally, I feel a sense of relief, new-found freedom and like I will be wading through piles of stuff for the next three months in an attempt to get them into just the right hands.

I originally set out to cease all spending that was not necessary (absolutely no clothes, which was only hard when I saw a really cute sweater on sale) and give away three of my belongings per day for the month of March, but THEN because I was so nervous that I couldn’t do it, switched it to two items per day. This decision evidently invited that pesky LOUD voice in my head that began to nag and nag until I finally gave in and settled back to three items.

The final purge verdict; 144 of my possessions have been removed and are in the process of being given to those in need. As it turns out, I had a lot more things that needed new homes than I’d originally thought.

In an attempt at transparency and full disclosure, I give you the itemized list:

31 pairs of shoes (umm, WHAT? Also, I still have way too many, especially given I more or less rotate between two pairs of boots and flip-flops.)
18 sweatshirts/jackets
13 bags
1 computer
18 scarves (Yeah, I know I live in L.A. and it’s not “cold” to the rest of you, but whatever I evidently hoard scarves.)
4 beanies
9 pairs of jeans/pants
13 tops
11 tank tops
10 dresses/skirts
8 sweaters
7 pieces of jewelry
1 lamp

Please hear this loud and clear; the number of belongings I am giving away is not something I am proud of, in fact I am totally embarrassed by it. I didn’t want to write about it at all. I should not have that many things that I don’t need, when so many are living without basic necessities. But I am learning and trying to change, with the plan to continue utilizing these principles as way of life, not merely a month-long project.

I can honestly say that have come to find complete joy in releasing the tight grip that I once employed in an attempt to hold onto my earthly belongings. I pray that I never lose sight of this again, that my life would paint a different picture; one that gives extravagantly in an effort to meet both physical and emotional needs.

At present time, my belongings are categorized into two piles; a pile of clothing that will be taken to the “store” that my parents church has set up, where homeless men and women can come pick out things that they need, free of charge. The other pile is comprised of specifically chosen clothing that are perhaps not practical for a woman living on the street (ie; jewelry, high heels, dresses, etc.) that will be donated to young single moms who have transitioned out of homelessness, but may not have the finances to buy themselves extra treats.

I am so in love with the idea of giving to these women in the in-between; the often forgotten women who are just regaining their footing. Perhaps these women have a job interview or a date they want to put on jewelry or heels for, but don’t have the means to gussy up, as their paychecks are spent before they’re received in an effort to keep the lights burning and food on the table. I want these women to walk with confidence, knowing that they are remembered and that they are special.

It’s pretty crazy to think that it’s only been a month since this project began. One month ago I was dragging my feet, begging God to let me off the hook on this one and He just wouldn’t let up. Thirty-one days later I can state with conviction that although I am not as far as I long to go, I have been changed, not simply by my own personal experience, but by the experiences of others that have shared in this journey and encouraged me with their words and inspiration.

Twenty-six friends agreed to take part in this movement, in some form or fashion. That’s twenty-six stories that have spoken loudly and poignantly, pressing me at times to give just a little bit more. In several moments I found myself in the throes of my closet holding something I love, facing the question to keep or give – remembering that army behind me pushed me to open my hand with extravagance over mediocrity.

So thank you. Thank you for being a part of this challenge. Thank you to each of you who asked questions, shared stories and sent encouraging words. I am not always the quickest when it comes to processing, so there very well could be more shared reflections to come (and quite possibly some more pictures and/or a video! Eek!). Please, please, please, keep sharing your stories and pictures with me, it makes my heart sing.

So much love. My heart is full.

Posted in March Against Excess | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

March Against Excess: Day #Uggs

One of my residents complained that her feet were cold this morning and because it seems I now fancy myself the poor version of Oprah (“You get a sweater! You get a necklace! You get some boots!”) I ran down to my car and brought her back the pair of Uggs that I’d begged for, for Christmas a few years back (and wore roughly 4 times).

She responded by saying, “Oooo, my granddaughter has some of these! I never thought I would. I really am the cool-hippest now!”

Sister, with lingo like that, you already were.

I was so delighted that this panic went through my head: This is so much fun, it almost feels selfish. Wait, I am trying to rid myself of selfishness. Ohcrapohcrapohcrapohcrap.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Are you participating in #MarchAgainstExcess? Please-oh-please tell me about it on Facebook, Twitter, in the comment section, wherever! Every story takes me to that kid-cracked-out-on-Halloween-candy place. It’s kind of embarrassing if I’m being honest:)

 

Posted in March Against Excess | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

March Against Excess: Day #6

Wow. Just wow. The last week has proven to be just nutty. What started as my own personal conviction has taken a turn for crazy and has left me in tears on more than one occasion. I am incredibly humbled, amazed and inspired by the people around me. In the last 7 days this challenge seems to have snowballed and taken on a life of its own.

I am blown away by how many of you have shared this idea with others, as well as jumped in with the desire to give. I am moved beyond words. I feel like a wide-eyed kid, in complete awe by the support and partnership that has been offered. It’s absolutely made this experience not only more meaningful, but way more fun.

As I mentioned in my last post I decided to tweak the project a bit so that I am consistently giving things away this month, not waiting until the end to make one big donation. They say it takes 30 days to form a habit, I want giving to be a habit. It’s been hard…really hard at times, in the last few days I have really been made privy to how selfish I am – but it’s also been so dang amazing.

Yesterday I was able to pick out a pair of combat boots to give to the daughter of one of my residents who has been moved from house to house, raised in the foster care system. Today I passed along a jacket and pair of slippers to Mary, the woman that cleans my office every day and brings me leftover food from home that she makes to feed her (giant!) family. Monday night I met a woman named Viv that works at a local organization who was not only thrilled to hear I had household items to give, but she decided that she wanted to join the March Against Excess too!

I keep metaphorically pinching myself to remember that this is real. That people have the ability to amaze you with their goodness and grace. And that sometimes when you open your hand what you are given in return is far, far greater than anything you could ever give.

Please, keep sharing! Don’t stop telling your stories of how you are Marching Against Excess and let’s all help heal one another with love and generosity.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March Against Excess Day #-1

Okokok, I sorta cheated. I started this project a day early. But before you go thinking it’s because I am just so super generous that I couldn’t help myself, let me be real with you; I DID NOT WANT TO.

It’s pouring BUCKETS here in L.A. right now and as everyone knows, NOBODY in this town is rain-equipped. I mean, you could be Scrooge McDuck, taking dips in your money bin, eating giants feasts every night, living in the lap of luxury, but even with all that money, you know what you’d still be missing? Any sense (or ability to drive) when the cloud start spewing. I truly believe that rain is the great equalizer here in the City of Angels.

Don’t get me wrong, I count myself 100% guilty of the above, but the one thing I do have is rain boots…two pair in fact. WHY? Because I tend think I am Noah and buy clothing in pairs so in the event they go extinct I am prepared.

Anyway, I currently have a pair on my feet, but recently decided I’d sell the other pair that have never been worn…cause not even my fashion sense is bad enough to wear rain boots when it’s not raining, I have some standards (albeit limited).  So today I sat in my office talking to the annoying wench in my head for about 2 hours before I decided that yes, these boots were not meant to be sold, they needed to be given away. To keep these oh-so-adorable boots warm and dry in here while someone outside had soggy wet feet would make me not only extremely selfish, but a fraud. I can’t very well attempt to lead this charge of giving ’til it hurts, while hoarding my excess.

So I did it. And it holy crap, it was hard.

I had such a bad attitude and was so judgmental. I debated even writing this because I am so disappointed in myself.

“She says these will fit her, but I bet they won’t, she’s lying,” I thought to myself.

“What if she just sells them? I could make really good money on them and it’s not like I make a lot here. I deserve that money.”

Oh my gosh.

The hardest part about hearing my own voice say these things is that I would be ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED AND APPALLED if I heard you say them. I’d lose my sh**, fly off the handle, tell you, you were part of the problem and I’d do it with such self-righteous indignation you could butter bread with it. (What? What does that mean?)

I think it’s safe to say I have a looong way to go. Lord, help me.

So it looks like my original plans might need to be tweaked. I’d previously intended to give away everything at the end of the month in one big swoop, but I am starting to rethink that strategy. Perhaps I need to make a conscious effort to physically hand my belongings to their benefactors daily or something of that sort. I’m all ears if any of you have any ideas.

(Insert loud audible sigh.)

Lastly, I am beyond thankful and thrilled at the number of people that have already written and committed to March Against Excess. I believe in the power (and safety and accountability) in numbers. If any of you feel so inclined I’d love, love, love to share some of YOUR stories on here as we join hands and give together. Let me know if you’d be interested and we will set something up.

I’m already exhausted, but man, I am also really, really excited. I want to be different. I want to be better.

Posted in March Against Excess | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

March Against Excess.

Can I be real here for a second?

Of course I can, this is my blog, so you can’t really stop me.  Although you can stop reading, so feel free to… okay no, please don’t.

Anyway, a couple of months ago things in my brain started to get a little weird. A stirring started in my head and my heart that began to get me a bit angsty (I realize this is not a word, but I like so it stays). I started to really wrestle with the notion that I go to work every day with people who have very little, claiming that I love them and want to be a part of their lives, I call them brothers and sisters…and then at the end of the day I drive home to Santa Monica and enjoy luxuries, both physical and mental (ie; the fact that I can write this blog from the vantage point of privilege), that are unheard of in most parts of the world- including the place just outside of the doors where I’m sitting as I write.

I am not comfortable with this picture.

I recently started reading a book by Jen Hatmaker, an author that has quickly become my imaginary best friend. (Full disclosure; I wrote her a letter, but have yet to send it because it reminded me too much of the fan letter I wrote to Justin Timberlake when I was 16, that he NEVER responded to – one can only take so much rejection and humility.) In her book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess she rather poignantly addresses very similar sentiments as she describes her own mental and physical war with stuff. It’s inspired and convicted me, while also leaving me breathing a sigh of relief that, at least, I am not alone in these feelings.

I described what I was feeling to someone who replied with, “But you already work with the poor, isn’t that enough?”

“It’s not.” I replied, “Love is sacrificial and I don’t know that I am really sacrificing much – at the end of the day I am still getting paid to be here. I love my job and the people I work with, but it’s still my job, I want to give my life.”

So that’s my plan. I’m not sure what this looks like for my long term  future, I mean really have no clue. But here is where I am starting: I don’t have a lot of money per se, but I do have a lot of stuff…err, rather I have a lot of clothes. I have very few ratty pieces left because of a recent move/purge, which means I have closets of decent clothes, some even brand new, that I don’t wear. I have many articles that I see and think ‘I will wear this again (or eventually), even if it’s not in the rotation now,’ which may in fact be true, but that angsty voice I mentioned above? Yeah, she keeps telling me that maybe instead of saving it for the one time this year I will wear it, perhaps I should give it to someone who needs it.

What does this mean, you ask? Somewhat akin to what my new BFF Jen did and documented in her book, for the month of March I plan to pull out 3 things per day to give away – whether that be clothes, shoes, blankets, whatever I feel led to and at the end of the month figure out a way to give them away…not donate them the Goodwill or any other thrift shop, but find a place where people can receive them for free. (Read: Donating things to the Goodwill is not a bad thing, but I want to give them to people who don’t have the ability to shop at all.)

I am going to be truthful and tell you I am not overly excited about this, but I just can’t not do it. I need to do it. I am being called to do it. I don’t have 93 things I want to give away. I don’t own things I wish I didn’t. But I don’t want to live a life that says one thing with my mouth and even parts of my life, but fails to follow suit in the rest of it.

And here’s where you come in. (WARNING: stop reading now if you don’t want to have to say yes or no to me OR JESUS. I am totally kidding – how was that for spiritual manipulation?)

I want you to join me. It doesn’t need to look the exact same, I chose this number per day because it’s a lot for me and if I simply said I was going to donate ‘some stuff,’ it wouldn’t be so much of a sacrifice, and I could rationalize keeping things that I am being called to give away.

(And it’s not just about clothes. People need bedding, kitchen items, and other household stuff that we often take for granted. So while you may not have a closet that’s packed, I’d challenge you to look to other closets and cabinets.)

I believe that most of us westerners (if not all) are living in excess. I don’t say this in judgment and I promise that if you don’t feel led to do this with me, I will not judge you a single iota – but I do believe that we all have a role to play in caring for our brothers in sisters who are in need and I do believe in tangible grace and so maybe, just maybe your heart is being tugged at to do this with me too.

IF this is the case, that you decide to join me in one way or another, let me know. I’d love to metaphorically join hands and pray over this together, as well as I am open to any creative ideas as to how we can give together even if it’s just in solidarity, cause ya know, distance. (One friend of mine was brainstorming a garage sale/store of sorts, where things are itemized, but all free – can you imagine how fun that could be for recipients?! “Oh, you want a green coat, not a blue one, cool! Here’s a blue one!”)

So there we go. It’s public. My hands are shaking. I’m committed. The fear of public failure is a real one. And for me- a powerful forcing function. If you’d like to join me I’d love to hear about it. And if like me, you need the pressure of a verbal commit, please feel free to post something in the comments section or share on your favorite social channel.

This is a big personal challenge for me, but as you know, a “calling” is hard to ignore. Here’s to a March of doing better.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments