life between the city and the suburb

last night was a weird night for me. when i got home from work there was man on my front porch talking with marie, who was standing in the doorway with the door half way open. the man was, from what i could tell from the street, very dirty and struggling to make ends meet. i assumed this was guy looking for a hand out. maybe a sandwich or some money for beer or pot. as i approached him from behind i could smell him before i even saw him. i was encouraged to find no smell of alchohol or weed on him. i didn't even smell smoke on him. he was looking for a hand out though. he needed to get home. his home is in some small town north of columbia. as his story progressed we found out that he was no longer welcome at his mother and sister-in-law's house, which is across the street from us. apparently he and his family had been sleeping and staying out in their front yard for the last couple of days. what he was wanting was a ride home for his two kids (ages 2 and 1) and his pregnant wife. well marie and i couldn't swing that so we started calling around. evidentually we were able to get them into a homeless shelter for the night. they would have beds, food, and be out of the sun. plus that way their relatives wouldn't have to call the cops or child protective services on them. so marie and i took them to the homeless shelter in kansas city, but the lady working the desk couldn't give good directions to save her life and we drove around kansas city's finest neighborhoods for about half an hour before we finally found it. the real kicker is that this dude's wife is like 9 months pregnant, so we pull up to the shelter and i find her already in the grass moaning and groaning and crying because she is having contractions that we like five minutes apart. this chick is ready to pop and this guy wants us to take her to columbia? so we finally get them unloaded and in better hands than we could've given them. so here's where it gets a little freaky for marie and i. we leave to go home and change (one of the kids pissed on marie) so we can make it to a surprise party for kate and linsey carrier at the driskell's house. we are going from taking this poor family to the homeless shelter to one of the nicest subdivisions in jackson county to celebrate a family that is moving to hong kong because of their dad's high ranking in one of the world's largest corporations. how in the world does this happen? its days like those when i ask a lot of questions about justice and the world at large and also a lot of questions about myself as a christian. why didn't marie and i just take them into our home and feed them? could we have done more? should we have bought them some food? did we really help them or did we just pass them off so they wouldn't be our problem any more? should we have taken her to the hospital? i guess this is the paradox we find ourselves in, in america. i guess being a christian only compounds that paradox. were we sheep or were we goats according to matthew 25? i guess we'll find out in the end.


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