I was happy with my Nokia cell phone, the flip kind that I had for many years. With a simple lifestyle, my “dinosaur” phone is enough to call my family, friends and when occasion warrant it, call 911 and police emergencies whilst working with the homeless in the Ellis Room.
But guess what!!!! Ruddy got me a whiz bang iPhone 5C as a birthday gift! He wants me to use the phone as ministry tool to take inconspicuous photos of my homeless friends, and finish my long over due booklet project, “My Walk with the Homeless”.
While I appreciate the thoughtfulness of Ruddy, I still feel conflicted when I consider the monthly payment on this newly fangled phone and the thought of how many people in the slum of Manila could probably live on this money.
This is the tension I live in: why do I compare the Third World poor and the homeless as to who is most worthy of my compassion, time, resources and energy? What’s the worth of the soul and why do I compare and think others less valuable than others?
My sponsored child from the Philippines looks so darn cute on her photo and the sponsor’s card in my refrigerator door, but I think people will think twice of hanging a photo of my homeless friends in their refrigerator door.
You see in the world of my homeless friends, pictures are not just pictures. For some, they are overly sensitive having their photos taken because of their run in with the law and they have way too many mug shots taken by policemen.
Suprisingly, though, most of homeless friends loves it when I take their pictures. I realized when I take their photos it communicate value to them, that they mattered to me and to the world, even though they are not the most photogenic subject. Also, with their destructive lifestyles , they know fully well that life is short and when I take their photos they’re somehow “memorialized”, a proof of their existence and hopefully not easily forgotten.
I wonder if Jesus would walk the Tenderloin, will He take photos? Not only will He take their pictures, He’d even tattoed my homeless friends’ names in His hands..…” I have engraved you in the palm of my hand, I won’t forget you”. Isaiah 49:14-17.
Wow… Jesus would have notice my homeless friends , Your love is way too radical!
Love you all! Cristina and Ruddy