My husband and I met at the nonprofit where we work and are choosing to live in North Omaha to intentionally see the reality of there one day being no inner city in Omaha, NE.
We live in a “lighthouse” where we want to build community and spread love and hope so the people around us can reach their full God-given potential.
Recently we were driving home around 9pm and as we are pulling up to the house, we see two individuals digging through our trash. Immediately I felt this creeping sense of fear and surprise. Why would someone be digging through my trash?! What could they possibly be trying to find? Information? Food? Cans to sell and get a little cash?
I didn’t get it and I was scared but also had this strange desire to talk to them. To ask if they needed something. Obviously they were looking for something. But I let the fear take over and direct how I thought and acted. I rushed into the house, locked the door and looked out the window.
I did not respond in love. Often, we cannot help our first response, that initial feeling of fear or anger or confusion, but we can choose our second response, whether or not we will let that initial response dictate the rest. I wish I would have responded differently. I wish I could have responded in love and compassion, willing to give to someone. Learn from my failure.
I’ve heard that living intentionally in the inner city can change me more than I can change the inner city.
I’m starting to see just how that happens and why it is actually necessary that I change, that I grow, that I learn and see things from a different perspective. There are some days and weeks that seem like everything I once thought I knew and was right about, has flipped and I see it from a completely different angle. I’m a person in a process. So are you. We are all in a process and need grace and love as a response. Praying that my next encounter, I will be more quick to respond in love, more likely to extend a hand instead of retreat inside.