So, how am I being transformed to love people without power, without much money, in the city of Grand Rapids? I want to take you along because there is plenty more room for goodness & kindness to blossom in our city. This is a journey that has no ending point for me, but I do know there can be a beginning point.
When I walked the streets of Grand Rapids this past November, encouraging people to vote,I realized how many of them have jobs. Some people have 1st or 2nd or 3rd shift jobs. Others fix cars in their garage, and others are incredibly creative entrepreneurs trying to make a living selling hotdogs or knitted blankets. Many of these people work hard, really hard. Most started their adult life with very little, and they are trying to make their way as individuals and families. The people of the city are not lazy.
Poverty is not about laziness. If you believe poverty is about laziness, as I once did, you are terribly mistaken. It is simply not true. This belief is a false narrative the we need to expunge from our lives. To hold onto this false narrative does not speak truth to the reality of being poor in Grand Rapids.
Please know that this is one of the first shifts that I needed to allow in my own life. Some days I still fight this feeling that I believed for too many years. Yet, if I am to be a person who can come alongside poverty in my city, I need to change my attitude. Coming alongside, learning to love our neighbors regardless of their financial reality, without giving them the title of 'lazy' is a beginning point.