But for the grace of God, there go I: The day I saw a homeless 4-month old

There’s something about the almosts, the could’ves, the should’ves and the would’ves that make our lives what they are. The near-brushes that make us shudder in appreciation. I didn’t grow up especially privileged. As the child of a single mother of three, times weren’t always easy. I didn’t know that at the time. All I knew was that throughout my life I had all of what I needed and most of what I wanted, and that was enough for me. But I know the statistics. I know what could’ve happened. I’ve heard the stories of single mothers, working day and night to make ends meet that end up living in their car because they just couldn’t bridge the gap. I know what should’ve happened. There’s no reason that I escaped that life–nothing special about me. And I know what would’ve happened–if not for a strong mom and a stronger God.

Yes. There’s something about the almosts, the could’ves, the should’ves, and the would’ves,

So tonight when we saw a homeless family with three little girls aged 4, 2, and 4 months, maybe I was uniquely suited to see the situation for what it was. But for the grace of God, there go I.

If I’d been born to a different life, a different family, given fewer opportunities who knows where I might be today? Perhaps the one with the cardboard sign? If I’d fallen in love with a different man–one who didn’t give selflessly and take responsibility for his children and family who knows where I might be today? Begging for formula?

Privilege is a mighty responsibility often accompanied by blindness. Comfort causes us to forget that once upon a time, we were toeing the line and could have gone either way.

Relatability. That’s what the world needs. That’s what the Church needs. That’s what politicians need. Because when you’re the other man, it’s a bit harder to kill and condemn him or watch him go hungry.

Sometimes I think this second awareness of struggle is a burden. It forces a near constant recognition that comfort is a fleeting luxury. But how thankful I am to be able to savor and value what others cannot. How thankful I am.

Because there’s something about the almosts, the could’ves, the should’ves, and the would’ves. And they force us to realize the reality: but for the grace of God, there go I…there go you.

So tomorrow when I complain that my house is overcrowded with too many clothes and toys and covet space and possessions, break my heart, Jehovah for the family of five crowded in their van. And when I look in the mirror and critique and criticize the size of my hips, make me thankful for the food that fills them out.

‘I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in every situation.’ -Philippians 4: 11-12

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

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