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Giving is Loving is Having.

March 9, 2010

She walks in. Holding tightly in her hand a valued 5 cent paper coffee cup. The way it gives her something to do with her hands. It keeps her busy and her mind preoccupied with all of this anxious energy. She shouldn’t be drinking coffee, but she just has to be doing something. So she spends her energy gaining more.

Today was the beginning for Anne. Not because anything was new, but because nothing could afford to be the same. Today, Anne has decided that the moment is a new beginning. Today has to be different for her; she dreads it being the same. Her constant fear.

Anne considers herself to be just the typical millenial, cynical do-gooder. She hopes for the best and expects the worst. She sits at a desk for 10 hours a day, designing websites. She loves her job, but she hates it. She only wants to work for herself. On her way home from work, she stops by the bookstore to grab her latest crave. Most recently it’s the biography of Walt Disney.

You see, Anne is a child at heart. Though she’s now an experienced professional with 5 years of web design under her belt, Anne is still just a kid. She sits at her desk for 10 hours a day. 10 hours designing. 10 hours daydreaming. 10 hours wishing to be set free. All the years spent gaining experience only make her wish she’d be young again.

To be young at heart is to be wise in mind, she always says.

Anne likes her job. At least most of the time. She loves her coworkers. Anne is nearly happy.

But, deep down Anne feels called. Like a magnet held near the fridge, Anne feels the draw. Each time she passes that certain street on the southern end, her heart jumps out of her skin. Jackson Street and its people, they hit her to her core like nothing she has ever felt before. Anne loves these people. The Jacksons, as she calls them because of where they live. But she has never met them. She’s too afraid to get involved. She fears that she doesn’t have the time to give, so she just doesn’t.

Instead, she returns to her cubicle each day. Driving faster each day past the Jacksons’ street. Hoping she won’t have to see them, nearly closing her eyes as she’s driving by. Loving what she does, often even passionate, but still feeling like there’s more. She believes that she must give up everything in order to mean anything to these people. But little does Anne know.

Life is not a to do list. There are no check boxes for acts of love.

He stands on the corner of Jackson and State, waiting for his bus to arrive. In his hand, he holds a piece of little yellow paper. Written on it an address across the city. His hands are shaking, partly from the chill of the wind, but mostly with eager energy. Holding the paper, gives him something to focus on, a hope, and good thought for his day.

Today is a new day for James. He’s headed to a job interview. The first he’s been able to land since he’s been living on the street. But James isn’t afraid of today, because he knows it’s about more than just him. He trusts that one day, one of these interviews will end with a job. His dream job at that.

You see, James is a rich man. Though he only has a few dollars to his name, he is very rich. He knows that the value of life comes not from the job he does or does not hold. He knows that no one can take from him the most essential parts of life. He knows that when he is love, he finds love. And James, just isn’t scared.

When you know how much love there is in the world, it takes away your fears.

James has never felt called. Instead he has always just done. Always doing, always moving, never standing still. James went to an Ivy League college, and had Ivy League dreams. He graduated with a masters, and fell nearly deathly ill. Without family or any support, debt consumed his life. And before he knew it, James found himself down on Jackson Street. Though he could have, James never blamed anyone. Instead only choosing to keep moving.

And each day, he keeps searching for a way. Still hoping for that family he thought he’d have by now. Always working harder each day. But above all believing that his life is not determined by his circumstances. His life is what happens on his bus ride to the interview. His life is made while hearing the tens of stories of others like him on the street. It’s in the fellowship of the warm days and shared misery of the cold nights.

Though he is working to get back on his feet, he’s secretly grateful for the way it’s knocked him to his knees.

It’s not about the place you find yourself standing in. But the room you make for someone else to stand with you.

Each day, he stands on this corner waiting for his bus. And he wishes that the girl driving past every day right at 7:30 in her polished Mercedes-Benz, would look him in the eyes. He can tell just from the way she drives, she doesn’t understand what this world is all about. He can tell that she’s just rushing through.

Oh, what he’d give to be able to tell her. ‘Don’t feel sorry. Instead tell me your story. Let me help you.’

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