On my way to church this morning I saw a young lady and her family, very close to my home, carrying their bedding. "Homeless people in our neighborhood? Did they sleep in the pathway we often walk? I'm so sorry for them." I was not appalled by the homeless in my neighborhood; just the thought of a homeless person is sad and uncomfortable because they are meant for so much more than this.
We have housed a few homeless and/or destitute individuals over the years, and unknowingly (until the next day) sheltered a young man in our side yard. All a very interesting educational experience. One of the huge learning curves for me was, 'be careful what you pray for'. At one point I wept for young people who were torn and tossed by fractured families and broken relationships. I prayed that God would give me a house big enough to keep some of them in a loving, stable environment.
Years later, I lamented to God about the awfulness of the various young folks (not my children) living in our home, their lifestyles of free sex, drug and alcohol abuse, their lack of personal hygiene, and their disregard for jobs or education. The all too familiar 'little voice' quickly reminded me that it was I who had prayed to show them a loving home. I had neglected to mentally prepare for the lifestyle baggage that came with that prayer.
As I reached the top of the hill this morning I was relieved to know the questionable 'homeless family' was on their way to a soccer tournament. People wrap in quilts or sleeping bags and dress in winter clothing to watch their children play soccer in Calgary. Oh the sacrifices we make to cheer them on. I am very grateful this family was not homeless, and, I am grateful that my grandchildren are not currently playing soccer.