There is a "force" out there in our Opportunity Center courtyard. And, I confess, it always draws me toward it.
Very, very poor people, most without a home, a pillow or a bed, populate this wonderful space most days. Every morning we roll out the sacred coffee pot and serve cups of red hot encouragement.
There can be no glamorizing the poverty resident in the lives of these precious people. Poverty never deserves such a narcissistic response.
It isn't the poverty that draws me.
What pulls me toward the people, one at a time and in their small groups, is the heroic courage lived out day after day as each wages a battle to move on and up and out. Poverty remains a hard go.
The experts fill our courtyard every morning. Want to know poverty? Come here and ask folks about it.
When the air is chilly, as it was this morning, the magnetism feels strongest.
So, as usual, I find that I cannot possibly go to my office before sharing a cup with some friends. Several conversations ensued, all pleasant and full of smiles, as well as curiosity about each other. Watching these friends, talking to them, hearing their stories forces tears into my eyes and down my cheeks. . .every time.
As I prepared to leave, I stepped into a serious, intense conversation among four or five men who invited me to join their conversation. The focus of their hilarious conversation: March Madness and the Final Four!
Next year, if things go right, I get these guys to help me fill out my bracket with one change: everybody has a permanent place to live. I'll bring breakfast, and I know "the force" will be present to draw me in.