I’ve been working at home ever since March due to COVID, with no sign of returning any time soon, and because I have a pre-existing condition, I have decided to scale back hands-on, direct service. Most of my volunteering is skills-based now and done virtually.
Over the last few months, despite loving the lack of commute, comfortable clothes, more sleep and relaxed mornings, I’ve realized that I greatly miss my direct encounters with the poor that happened each day, and that truly, I need those encounters.
Every day working downtown, there was at least one encounter with the poor. I miss that. I miss the daily jolt of gratefulness for what I’ve been given, the call to give spontaneously to a specific person, and meeting a human being in need. I miss sometimes hearing their stories or the random hugs I would receive. I miss seeing Christ in them.
The poor keep me level-headed. They keep me grateful. They keep me generous. They keep my heart open to the suffering. They keep me looking for God and encountering Him each day outside of my comfortable spaces.
When I think about the prospect of not returning to downtown to work and continuing to work from home, which may be offered when all of this is over, I realize the blessing of working amidst the poor in the city.
I think I’d choose it all over again even with the commute, less sleep, and less comfort.
We, the priveleged, need our daily dose of reality.