Monday, October 30, 2006

Inner city "snapshots"

If I didn't feel as if I were being unduly invasive, I would carry a camera everywhere I go to capture what I see day after day.


Dan Hopkins, my jogging buddy, and I decided on Starbucks instead of a run at White Rock Lake. No reason to bore anyone with our excuses. Let's just say they seemed reasonable at the time!

As we sat outside drinking our coffee, playing with Sophie, Dan's dog, and talking about this and that, I saw a man approaching whom I had spotted many times before in the neighborhood.

I tried not to stare as I watched him out of the corner of my eye. He walked toward us, stopping about 30 feet from our table. His matted hair and filthy clothes told me that he lived on the street. He smoked a cigarette on a long holder. He carried on a conversation with himself, debating whether or not and how to approach us. Finally, mustering all of his courage, he strided toward us and walked past to the other end of the block. After awhile he walked back past us.

Dan nonchalantly said, "Good morning." I love this about Hopkins!

The man did not reply.

He resumed his first position down the sidewalk and watched people come and go from Starbucks.

Finally, as one man stepped out of a car very near where we were sitting, I heard him literally screech out a plaintive, "Change? Pocket change?"

When the man he cried out to did not respond, our friend walked away across the parking lot and out of sight.

Arriving at our headquarters later in the morning, I spoke to a young man who was assisting an older lady out of her car. I greeted them as he helped her toward the front door. She walked with a cane.

Both were volunteers.

Both appeared happy and eager.

Both greeted me with large smiles, asking how my weekend had been.

Both are very poor.

Around lunch time I returned to my office after a run Downtown to meet with a supporter and to check things out at the Meyerson Symphony Center where Vince Gill will play this evening.

From one end of the street a young mother approached. She carried an infant in her arms. A little boy about 3-years-old walked at her side. No doubt she was coming our way for groceries.

She looked exhausted.

I wondered to myself about the details of her life and what the rest of this day would bring her way.

From the other end of the street an Asian woman on a bicycle rode up. She was coming to seek help with food as well. Her face looked remarkably blank, almost vacant to me. I hoped to myself on her behalf that we could do more than normal for her.

The Resource Center was packed again today with people from everywhere.

The need grows. The dilemmas facing people can be ignored or dismissed only to our collective harm.

Snapshots. . .brief and tiny windows into the reality of inner city Dallas.


RC said...

One thing your posts always tell me is to get involved in the lives of people, all kinds of people. You live what you preach and you challange people in a way that too few others do. I guess that is why I keep coming back every day. I know Jesus would be doing the same thing you do.

MommyHAM said...

If I didn't feel as if I were being unduly invasive, I would carry a camera everywhere I go to capture what I see day after day.

I think a lot of us "in the field" feel that way - but because it is unduly invasive, you do the next best thing and still allow people to see what you see in your heart of hearts. That's what Jesus did. He reminded people that there was/is still value in the "no-good whores" of his time, ate with people others scoffed at, and gasp TOUCHED the lepers! Your words are in that spirit, Larry, and thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Larry, it's a good thing God has blessed you with a photographic heart. No need for that camera.