Wednesday, May 31, 2006

in the dinner line

tonight, we had a lot of people show up for dinner- maybe around 100 people. i had actually arrived early and watched the people scramble for spots in line,positioning themselves on the edge of their seats to be ready when darren finished praying for the meal. a long line like the tail of a dragon in a chinese new year's parade snaked down one wall, then another and curled around a third. tucked in my bag was my own dinner, to be consumed later allowing me to drink in all the people and not be concerned with my own hunger at the moment.

an urge to talk to each one of them came over me, but i didn't know where to start. so i went and talked to my buddy glenn and mentioned i would like to ask each person a question, while they waited in line, but couldn't think of a question. the guy behind him, mark, piped up with such a simple, beautiful question:

"what are you thankful for today?"

the responses didn't vary all that much: "dinner," "being here," and the all-time favorite- "being alive."

it's funny how sometimes the homeless really help bring life into perspective for me. the concept of being alive, while resonating deep down, would not have been my first reach of a response. and yet, how simple life becomes- food, water, shelter, love and acceptance- life distilled down into the basic elemental needs. and life, how sweet it is, really. several in our "second helping" bible study shared how God had saved them from trying to kill themselves- they too are thankful for life. but i would posit that many of us are content to live half-lives.

so the question i leave you with is: "what does it mean to be alive?"


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