Wednesday, November 24, 2010
As many of you know I am working at a men's homeless shelter in Birmingham. These men have taught me a lot about poverty, mental illness, and addiction over the last nine months. This will be my first year working at the shelter during the holidays. We have had an influx of calls come in for people wanting to volunteer in the last several weeks. We have so many volunteers that people are only allowed to work a two hour shift on Thanksgiving. We can't take any walk ins because it is simply too crowded. I find myself frustrated because we need volunteers all year around not just on holidays. Don't get me wrong I am glad people want to give of their time I just wish motives were brought into question. Volunteering seems like an easy escape so we won't have to feel bad about ourselves for not doing anything the other 364 days of the year. We can go home and sit at a table with our family and friends and feel good about ourselves because at least we are not like "those people" who did nothing. The same is true for me I can feel good about myself because I will be working but really would I be at the shelter if it wasn't part of my job? I am not sure I can answer yes. This post isn't meant to make people feel more guilty than they already do. It is meant to drive people to question what it means to give. Is giving going into a certain neighborhood or is giving being a part of that neighborhood? When will we deal with our guilt and join others in relationship instead of always being the giver who has all the power? Aren't we called to be with the needy, the poor, and the oppressed?
Posted by Falling From Trees at 8:20 AM