Friday, December 15, 2006


Well, not in the sense of "they live right next door, on the other side of the fence" neighbors but we first ran across them in our neighborhood. This is the couple that I mentioned in the post from Feb 8 and promised to update, so here goes.

Over a year ago, we met this couple who are not exactly homeless, because they move from place to place (which may include tents, apartments, rooms, etc), but they are not exactly permanent residents at any one location. We first met them when the lady, we will call her Cecilia, asked for money. We gave it to them, thinking it was the "Christian" thing to do. Let's just say we were a little naive, and had much to learn on this journey.

Cecilia came back later, and we gave her food from our garden instead of money this time. She loved the food from the garden, but was upset that we wouldn't give her money. Several days later she brought her husband, we'll call him Carl, to meet us. Since it was afternoon, we invited them to dinner. We had a good time and spent most of it listening to their stories about their growing up, and kids that lived all over Texas. They kept coming, and every once in a while we would give them money for "groceries", a "friend's daughter who was sick", "gas money for a friend", etc. Then came the big night.

Several months had gone by. After burgers one evening, Carl said he wanted to confess something to me while Cecilia was not there. He asked that we speak privately. We went into the house. Carl then told me that he and Cecilia were hooked on drugs and he wanted us to pray for them. I said that we definitely would. I called the family inside, and we laid our hands on Carl and prayed for him. We later found out that Cecilia was not too happy that he had confessed.

We look back now and slap our heads thinking "Duh!" We wanted to think the best of them, even though we knew that they had moved twice in the couple of months that we had known them. It just showed us our gullibility from living in a world that generally ignores, or at best glances at page 12 in the local newspaper, this world.

Cecilia was none too happy because even the small amount of cash that we would give them was now nonexistent. We gave them food coupons from the store, took them to the laundromat ourselves, and provided food whenever they asked; but that was it. Every once in a while we had no clue where they were, but after a month or so they would get back in touch.

Long story now shorted: Carl is rehabing from rehab, and Cecilia is in jail in Fort Worth right now. Carl is coming over to dinner Monday and we'll discuss visiting Cecilia soon. Carl usually goes to church with his daughter now.

Our learning lessons:

1) How much help can you really provide without getting involved, deeply, in other people's lives?
It's scary, and time consuming. Did I ever wonder why so little change and transformation happens?

2) How much "fixin" can we really do to people?
Carl and Cecilia are never going to be "middle class", and is that really the goal? Would that be better than where they are at? Yeah, sorta. Cecilia dreams of sitting in front of a big screen TV.

Weigh in, good people.

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chris b said...

this is a think piece for sure. but only because we as people, struggle to find a quick fix for everything and everyone. good post.

kim said...

You hit the nail on the head right here: "1) How much help can you really provide without getting involved, deeply, in other people's lives?
It's scary, and time consuming. Did I ever wonder why so little change and transformation happens?"
Part of laying yourself down as a Christian is being open, and being vulnerable, and sometimes risking getting hurt. We can choose those situations, or we can let those situations choose us, but basically, the work of salvaging lives is always relational. Even God had to make Himself vulnerable to do it