As I write this, I'm sitting on a comfy couch. It's so comfy, that this is practically my favorite spot to be. Call me Sheldon Cooper. Move over children; that's my spot.
I like this spot on the couch, not only for the comfort and the arm rest, the outlet that's near by, but also the view of the sweet little backyard that bumps up to the forest edge. Sometimes while I'm sitting here I see deer or bunnies, a fox or a coyote. The birds rest on the fence and I can see the little chickadees flutter around until the bully Bluejays rush them off. The couch is also near the kitchen of the house, and so family mill around grazing on fruit or packaged bars. The dogs snuggle beside me to sleep. It's time that feels perfect.
And while I relish my time on the couch; there is a danger in it too. Perhaps you think that sounds too dramatic. But I'm not sure it is. Yes, I'll call it a danger. Because all this comfort; comfort that I LOVE, is also pacifying. It's intoxicating. It lures me into complacency. I read an article a couple years ago about a woman who came to America from Iran. After living in the States for a while, she longed to go back. Why, you ask? "There is a satanic lullaby here. All the Christians are sleepy and I’m feeling sleepy.”
My comfy couch makes me feel sleepy. My comfortable life can make me feel sleepy.
That's why it has been so impressive to know two men, in particular: James Adams and Dan Baker. I see each of them once or twice a week. They show up and connect the 127 Place trailer to their hitch and load it with different pieces of furniture. Sometimes it's a couple of beds and dressers and mattresses; sometimes it's a fridge or washer and dryer. All of these things have been gently used items, donated by amazing people around the Valley. In the backs of their vehicles, they load up boxes of diapers, formula, bedding, grocery gift cards and the like. And then they head from one home to another, in the dark parts of the city to deliver.
Are there actually dark parts of the city? I will say yes. There are places where it feels unsafe, where the police must keep close attention. There are places where the darkness of night provides the right cover for guns, drugs. This is where landlords don't worry if a home has bedbugs, and the families are too poor to do much about them. This is where there are often unidentifiable smells that make you not want to walk inside.
But James and Dan show up. Week after week in the dog days of August summer, they do this heavy lifting of loading and unloading furniture. They do the emotionally heavy work of engaging with broken and hurting people.
This isn't normal. This ISN'T NORMAL. (Saying it again for the folks in the back, folks like me on our comfy couches). This is not normal, but is spectacularly beautiful. And this is why God sends us. This kind of love and care and work is COMPELLING.
Yes, yes, I hear Christians who would rather fight about for their rights instead of serving like Jesus. Yes, I've seen people wave banners of hate in the name of Jesus. But James and Dan, they actually look like Jesus. And if I needed a safe spot in this hard world, I wouldn't go to the shouters or the banner raising hell condemners, but I would go to James and Dan. I would know that I could be safe with them. That they'd see me, and not my mess. Like Jesus does.
So if your couch is feeling a bit too comfy today, and if your world feels a bit too small today, then we can try this CarePortal thing together. Maybe in the doing, God will refine us a little more, so we too can look like Jesus.
Ray Moore is the executive director of 127 Place and the local program director for both CarePortal and Safe Families. Kelli Moore is the board Chair for 127 Place and the Kyrgyzstan Director.