Wednesday, November 13, 2013

An Open Letter To The "Haves"

Dear "Have",

I'm a "have not". You call me poor. You call me disadvantaged. You put me in the category "needy".

I'm writing to you today to tell you that I am human.

I'm a living, breathing, human being, just like you.

I often look like you. I'm your neighbor. I sit in front of you at church on Sunday morning. We pick up our children from the same Sunday School classroom. I stand next to you in line at the grocery store. I'm at your child's soccer game. I'm white. I'm black. I'm young. I'm old. I'm skinny. I'm plump.

Sometimes I wear shabby clothes and sit on a street corner. More often you can't tell me apart from most other people. You think you know me. You think that you have me all figured out.

I milk the system, you say. I waste the money that you give me on drugs and alcohol. I get my nails done and wear a decent coat. I see you look at the car that I drive. I'm picky when I want decent food for my children. The kind that you feed yours. "If she's hungry, she should just be thankful for what she gets."

Don't think that I don't hear you.

I get everything for free, because I don't like to work. I lie. I hide income. I continue to have babies so that I can get more money.

Don't think that I don't hear you. 

But did you know?

...that I long to be like you.
...that I never wanted to be in this predicament.
...that I have never used drugs or drank.
...that my friend treated me to a manicure and a pedicure.

Did you know?

...that a kind person gave me the car. It has 100,000 miles on the speedometer that you can't see.
...that Yes! I want my children to eat decent food. Don't you?
 ...and that I AM thankful for what I receive.

Did you know?

...that I can't work because I can't find a job.
...that because the system sucks, I can support my family better on welfare than working a job at McDonald's.

I hear you. I hear you say, "if you're hungry, you'll take any job."

Oh, how I wish you really knew me.

I have hopes and dreams. I love my children with every ounce of my being, and I only want what's best for them.

I just want to be normal.

I just want to feel a sense of security and safety.

I want to have enough. I don't want millions. I. just. want. enough.

Did you know?

...that at this time of year, right before the holidays, I fight the worst depression.

...that I throw up sometimes when I watch TV commercials that show families around the Thanksgiving table.

...that when you see me leave a room, it's because I can't listen to you talk about Christmas shopping,  because what is so normal for you is impossible for me.

I just want to be normal.


Jesus told a story in the Bible about a man named Lazarus and a rich man. Lazarus was a beggar and he and the rich man had both died and gone to their respective eternal destinations. There was a great chasm separating them, fixed and uncrossable. Even though I'm not the "rich" in this story, I feel like there's a great chasm between you and I. No matter how I beg. No matter how I try, I can't get to where you are. I just want you to dip the tip of your finger in some water and cross over to me.

I just want to be normal.
I just want to provide a decent life for my children.
I just want to stop crying.
I just want to smile once in a while.

I just want you to stop judging me.

You don't know me.

Don't paint me with a long brush of generalizations. Some bad apples don't spoil the whole bunch.

If you took the time to hear my story. If you took the time to get to know me.

You would find out that I have more faith in my little finger than you will have your whole life.
Because faith is ALL I have. 

You see, when you're down to nothing, when you're down and out, if you don't have faith that somewhere, somehow, SOMEONE will rescue you, 
you'll hang yourself. 

You are my brother and sister in Christ. And that's the saddest part of all. Shouldn't we treat each other better? We're family. We have the same blood flowing through our veins. The precious blood of our Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

Can I be brutally honest with you? Those who you call "lost", "unsaved", "pagan", pay more attention to me than you. When your sideways glances let me know that my chances are better off on the streets, there's something wrong. When no one says hello on Sunday morning or when I'm whisked away before I can set foot in the sanctuary.  

Our big brother told us to be on the lookout for people just like me. When you help me, you are ministering to Him. He left His throne in Heaven to become just like me. 

I'm the one on the corner. I'm the one in the give out line. I'm the one at Kroger looking through the discount expired food table. I may even be the one who looks a lot like you, but has tears rolling down her cheeks on Sunday morning. If someone doesn't help me we'll eat Mac and Cheese for Thanksgiving dinner. I'll have to scrape the cheese to put over the noodles. My children's names are hanging on an Angel Tree. 

I have to keep the lights on. It's winter and it's cold and I have to keep the heat on.

Have you ever had to choose between paying a bill and buying food or medicine?
Do you honestly think I like government cheese and day old bread? That I would choose this life?

The Bible says that the Lord has assigned me my portion and my cup. It is what it is. I sometimes think that maybe it's so that you can be put to the test.

Will you see the face of Jesus when you look at me? Will you value me as a person enough to give me a hug even if I don't smell so swell? Will you stop assuming and stop others from talking trash about me?

I just want you to know me. Because you don't.

Thanks for listening,
A "have not" 


1 comment:

  1. Powerful use of words to shine light to the many stereotypes, generalizations and judgments we have all been guilty of from time to time. There is a story behind every face. To get to know a person for who they are and what they have been through is an investment of time that we all can share.