Wyeuca In the Windy City: Perspectives Part 2.
(For the first entry in this series, go here: http://wyeuca.tumblr.com/post/67376095452/perspectivespartone )
Wyeuca In the Windy City: Perspectives, Part 2.
Church On the Block is in a rough neighborhood, arguably the toughest one in the city of Chicago. At no point in my visit did I feel like I was in any danger personally, but it was obvious that quite often danger surrounded me just below the surface. Church On the Block is full of people from a totally different side of life than I ever seen. Some had done prison time [and at least one very recently], some had family members who had been murdered, some were addicts, some were homeless. All of this in a crowd of 50-60 people, and even then I only spoke to a handful. What I’m saying is, this wasn’t your typical church.
On my first Sunday, Nate offered to pray with people in the congregation, and a few came forward. Hearing these people pour their hearts out made me realize two things. One, how prideful I can be when trying to bear my burdens. Like a lot of people, I try and keep my personal problems to myself. Whether it is from a standpoint of “I can do it on my own,” or a standpoint of “I don’t want anyone knowing too much about me,” I keep myself guarded. But then, how often do my problems frustrate me as a result of my unwillingness to allow others to help? Here were people with problems so heavy that I couldn’t even find a frame of reference for, and they were sharing them with their congregation without any hesitation, any fear, and some even with such matter-of-fact candor that they might as well have been reading a grocery list.
And the congregation rallied around them. Just surrounded them with love and strength and encouragement. It was amazing.
The second thing I realized is that, while there have been some low points in 2013, maybe they weren’t as bad as I thought. Yeah, they weren’t fun, but I still have an unwaveringly loving and supportive family even in the midst of my creative meandering, friends who care about me and genuinely want me to succeed, opportunities to work and excel, and a source of income that does not involve harming myself or someone else.
I don’t mean to say that I think my problems are small and that I now realize I shouldn’t have let them affect me; they affected me profoundly for very real reasons, and I am where I am right now in part because of them. But seeing a community of people struggling on a far more basic, fundamental level helped me to see with a lot more clarity the things for which I can be thankful, rather than focusing on one or two things that have confounded me.
I grew a lot in just a few minutes from that first Sunday.