This past week has sent me on a whirl of different experiences, information and feeling. There has been a number of contributing factors and sometimes they all just come at once to really make you re-evaluate a lot of things. It started with moving in with the Goodyear’s house. I am so blessed being here. They encompass the kind of house that I have always dreamed of having back in Sarnia but I didn’t really know anyone that had it besides my own apartment back in Toronto, but everyone is quick to tell you that’s just because I’m young and don’t have a family. My parents raised me also on an open house concept so that’s what I always imagined doing. I kind of went through a period of not really understanding what a house was or what a home was supposed to be to me, but coming here has really helped me understand a lot better, and I’m sure there will be a lot more to come, its only been a few days.
A few things that I’ve noticed that I think are important for everyone to know. First, the whole idea of privacy is completely foreign to them the way most of the world understands it. The house is not a place you come to retreat from the world, it’s a place that the world is invited to enjoy the comfort and blessings that they’ve given them. I’ve only been here a few nights for dinner and it seems like there is always someone over here or they are telling people to come over for dinner some other time. There is such a great atmosphere in this house and it is obvious that they love having people around and want to help out wherever they can.
In about a month and a half I am moving with the Goodyears to a house that is downtown Hamilton. They are leaving the comfort of the suburbs and the safety of the nice schools and nice people to move into a crappy neighbourhood. Why? Because they believe with all their hearts that the only way to change a neighbourhood that is so bad that everyone wants to move out is to move in. How many families do you know that would honestly do that? Everyone else that I know is moving up in the world.
Third, they raise their kids as not children that tag along while their parents are Christians, they raise them in such a way that they know that they are an integral part of Jesus’ plan and take part in it also. When Pernell was telling his eight year old daughter about the neighbourhood change and that kids might be a lot meaner and that it is a lot darker of a neighbourhood. Her response: “Well I guess that just means I have to be more of a light in the darkness.” What kind of eight year old kid thinks like that? One who is raised to believe that even that young they have purpose and a part in God’s Kingdom.
The Goodyears prove that you can actually live a way of life that I have been talking about but most people laugh and say I’ll grow out of it. They say that it’s not the real world or that once I get kids or money that I will understand better. They say that I’m just rebelling right now and one day I’ll just give in. They say that no one wants to live that way that everyone actually moving out of comfort and into bad neighbourhoods wouldn’t actually happen. They say that it’s not ideal for everyone to do that because no one will want to and who will actually do it but those who have nothing to lose.
I’m becoming more and more persuaded that all those people may be right in all those ways if I let it. I refuse to let it though. I am convinced that the kingdom of God is going to advance not by us being comfortable in our big houses separating ourselves away from everyone else. But it will advance by the very very few people who are actually willing to be uncomfortable, unsafe and living under their means for Jesus. So even if no one else does it, that is not a reason not to do it, in fact it’s more of a reason to do it. It’s only been five days, I’m pumped for the rest of the summer.