Stories open a very brief, but life-altering window into reality. And reality is not always how and where we live day-to-day. Sometimes, it is a child poverty rate of more than fifty percent. Other times, it means unemployment and illiteracy. Reality can mean crime and disease and hunger. It’s doing without – not because you choose to, but because you were never given a choice in the first place.
Stories can show us people in need: Hungry people. Lonely people. People who are hurting. And people who smile —not because of what they have, but in spite of what they do not. Stories show us a mill worker who lost his job more than 15 years ago because he needed to take care of his sick wife. Stories allow us to know the heart of a woman more than a century old. Stories invite us into the rickety halls of a church whose congregation is more committed to God and to each other than most of us will experience in our lifetimes.
Are we able to shake the hand of history and hug the necks of time so we can look toward tomorrow a little more encouraged —a little more inspired —more willing to do our part to change the reality of some, so that hope can become real for many?
The answer is yes. Just ask yourself…
Who are the poor and what is our responsibility toward them? How can we transcend the materialism of our age for a fresh vision of God’s creation, and how can people be empowered to take care of their own physical needs?