New Kid on the Block is the journal of Ryan Schnurr, NeighborLink storytelling intern. He’s blogging his experience during his time with us this summer.
“This is a beautiful house,” I remarked, as we walked through on the way to the basement. And I was right. The furniture, a sort of pseudo-victorian style, joined the large windows and brick walls in forming a pleasing picture of a home; an environment in which many people would love to live. But as we journeyed through to the back stairwell, the scenery shifted. The dark hardwood floors became untreated lumber steps. The large curved doorways and colorful walls became damp drywall and low-hanging beams.
This is where Michael lives.
This is where we find a discouraged man, who has been dealt 9s and 10s by various organizations and people and is trying to make the best of it. This is where we find a man who wants to work hard, but can’t physically maintain his house. And a man who is under immense financial pressure, but trying to “live decent.”
Sometimes the hardest part about loving someone through service is when we worry about them deserving it. When we show up and it appears that the person we are to serve has resources, or an ability to do things for themselves, and we question whether this is a good investment for us to make. But when we dig down, deep down, behind the façade of entryway pillars and tough upper lips, into the basement, we find a place to serve. We find the place that Jesus lived, and the person that Jesus loved. And we find, more often than not, that they are almost exactly like us.
Jesus shows us, in his relentless pursuit of us despite our stubborn refusal, that investment in another person is never wasted. Indeed, there are always needs, whether we determine them to be sufficient or not. And we can interact with those needs, as Christ’s ambassadors, if we are willing to forego assumptions and enter the house.
Please take a look at our projects page, and find a neighbor with whom you can interact.