Friday, October 20, 2017
Broken and Beautiful
I have been reading Katie Davis Majors book, "Daring To Hope: Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful". Katie is well known for her first book "Kisses For Katie" and for her non-profit in Uganda ~ Amazina Ministries~ that cares for the vulnerable in that country. And she happens to be a mom to 14 before she turned the age of thirty. Thirteen girls adopted in the first 10 years she lived in Uganda, and one son born to her and her husband.
The words, "Broken and Beautiful" brought up visions of some of the people we saw while traveling. While on our long trip to California and back, we saw some of the broken in the homeless that were on the road or in the cities. Often it appeared that mental illness played a part of their journey, if not drug addiction or worse. It was heartbreaking and to be truthful sometimes uncomfortable to be in their presence.
Two people stand out to me.......one man I expect was in his early 30's and traveling with a dog and a cat. His clothes were absolutely filthy and torn, and he sat outside of a convenience store/gas station in Park City Utah sharing food and water with his four legged companions. Park City is a very wealthy area of Utah, so the contrast was vivid. The second was a woman who was standing over some kind of vent on a street in Redding. We drove right past her, trying not to notice that she was urinating through her clothes, into the vent in broad daylight. It was very disturbing.
Broken people. So many broken people. My thoughts went to our need to see others through God's eyes, and I cannot help but come up short in my reactions concerning these two. Certainly our cities, our churches, our neighborhoods are filled with those who are broken. We all are imperfect in some way, but I have not been able to forget the two whom I mentioned above. God's children, too.
Broken and beautiful. I believe this is how God seems them. How He sees us all. And would He react the same way as His people do? Maybe with repulsion, indifference, scorn, or disgust? Would he yell, "Get a job" or look down or away from them? And how would He expect us to respond?
Katie Davis Majors tells the story of a man who was an alcoholic and dug through garbage for his food, was abusive and mean spirited to others. One day he fell into a fire while in a drunken stupor. He was taken to the doctor but they did not have the time or resources to help him so they wanted to amputate his leg if no one could care for him. Katie was called and ended up adding him to her already full days and nights ~ a drunk in need of having his dressings changed on a daily basis. She slowly nursed him back to health, quietly witnessing to him about Jesus. Eventually he stayed in the guest cottage on her property and without access to alcohol, he stopped drinking. He began listening to what Katie was saying and not only did his leg heal but so did his soul. He gave his heart to Jesus and eventually was able to get a job and his own apartment while helping out Katie and her family with chores when he could. He was so grateful.
Katie saw beyond the broken, smelly, mean spirited man and gave him the care and love that her Jesus would. She saw that he was both broken and beautiful. I have had to ask myself, "Could I do the same?" It might sound more glamorous to be saving the leg of a man in Africa vs helping out someone in our own city with the same circumstances.........but what Jesus asks in Uganda is exactly what He asks of us where we live.......to see others through His eyes and treat them with love.
Hard questions. Harder answers. We know it is easy to love the lovable, but Jesus asks more of us. To love the unlovable. To be open to loving others He brings into our lives.....whether strangers or members of our family. That love He requires is given in many different ways. Certainly not all of us called to nurse a man back to health, but no one can deny that Jesus calls us to see the broken as beautiful. The Gospels resonate with His thoughts and commands on love.
We are invited, as Katie says, to bring Jesus into the midst of our own messes and brokenness, too......and see ourselves and others as He does.....both broken and beautiful. Are we up to the challenge? Certainly not without Jesus. But then, we are not without Jesus, are we?!