Lesson 2 - Terrible Lives: On top of everyone having all the church lingo, almost all who have come to us for assistance have had unimaginably terrible stories. My house burned down. I didn't have renter's insurance. Then my daughter was violated. My mom went to the hospital. Dad died while mom was in the hospital. Mom now needs surgery and doesn't have insurance.
At the same time, just like with the jargon, it should make me more sad than angry that those who do hyperbolize their miseries would feel the need to pile fake stories on top of real, already tragic ones. There are always very large grains of truth behind all of the tragedies that come our way. Unfortunately, those who come to us often seem to feel as though their story has to be more tragic than the last one we heard, or they have to tug on our heart strings harder. There have been many attempts at guiltedness waged against me - involving kids, eviction notices, and even a picture of a dead relative in a casket on someone's iPhone. It should make me sad that the real, mundane struggles of raising kids, finding a job, pushing back against a rough upbringing, or trying to escape learned helplessness aren't enough of a story for those who seek help to feel legitimate in their request. Everyone who has come to us has needed help in some form or fashion. The real need may not have always been monetary, but there has always been a need. My heart should break at the way I and other Christians have made the needy feel illegitimate in their plight, as well as the way we have discounted needs that transcend the physical, material realm.