Sunday, April 10, 2005

Seedy Joints

I had an interesting experience today. I have told many of you about the seedy joints (porn shops, strip clubs, etc.) that are rampant in this town. Well, today I was practically, I repeat practically, in one. Christense and I went with a young mom from PUMP to visit her sister. Sister lives in a tiny one-bedroom apartment above a strip club in downtown Portland. I have to be honest that in all my life, I have never been in such a seedy joint (Mom, no worries, I was perfectly safe).

We walked down narrow hallways with high ceilings towards Sister's apartment, tucked away in a corner behind the third floor stairwell. The rugs on the floor were so threadbare that you could literally see through them. Every floorboard creaked. The walls were yellowed with peeling paint. And it was impossible to breath through the thick cloud of smoke.

Sister seemed just as rundown as the building; however, the building was probably at least half a century old, Sister is only 23 years old. She has some learning disabilities and has had a long history of drug use. It soon became apparent as we sat with Sister why she had pulled on a heavy jacket on such a mild day as she answered the door. Her far off gaze suggested the recent drug use.

Did I come away from this situation with a heightened awareness of my own blessings? A heightened awareness of the lost around me? No what I learned was to break free of my comfort zones, my own desires--in this case my Sunday afternoon nap--to just love someone for a little while. I don't know if Sister will even remember me the next time we meet, but I know that today I showed the young mom Jesus' love and Sister Jesus' love.