Thursday, October 21, 2010

Love Your Neighbor (not just because it is Domestic Violence Awareness month)

Last week I was standing in our little local coffee shop, Second Street Cafe,
waiting for my Dark Chocolate Mocha. 
I was looking at the wall of posters. 
The place were people are allowed to advertise local events & such.

There was a homemade poster, written in purple marker,
telling me that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
The poster maker listed some statistics.
One being - 1 in 4 women has been or will be a victim of
domestic violence during her lifetime.

Sometimes statistics are hard to believe.
Or easy to ignore.
But, I have been shocked to see for myself,
real life people
people who I care about
people who I hardly know
real people who are beaten & abused.
They aren't numbers or statistics to be brushed aside.

There are bloggers & authors writing about living radically.
People want to step out of there comfort zone - into something that matters.
People are tired of the comfortable middle American lifestyle.
Life in your suburban middle class American town
may not be as pretty as people want to think.
There is real pain everywhere
Life may not be as comfortable for your neighbor as you assume.

I want to reach out to my neighbors.
It's another aspect of not treating people as objects.
Those faces I see everyday are people with hurting hearts.
I know them well enough to know that.
I don't want to ignore their pain.

I know that there are women around me being treated like objects.
I know they are being abused.
It is hard to know how to help them.
But, I know I need to help them.

I don't want to pretend like I think they are happy & carefree.
I don't want to ignore their pain.
I am not quite sure where to start.
Maybe real conversation is a good place.

I want them to know I care.
I want them to feel like my home is a safe place.
I want them to know what real love is

I want to shed some light on the darkness of domestic violence,
by letting them know that I know & I care.
Darkness needs to be exposed by the light of truth.
The love of Jesus doesn't hid away wrong & pretend it is not there.

I bet I am not the only one who has neighbors
who are affected by domestic violence.
You may not realize it now.
But, you may know people who are being abused
& living in deep pain.
Maybe next door.
Maybe next to you in the church pew.
Maybe your regular grocery store clerk.
Let's step outside of our house & get to know the people around us.

Love your neighbor.
Show them you care.
Stand up & defend the abused.

**  I read today about The Anderson Crew's "Embrace the Camera" challenge &
decided to take part.  I am not one to usually embrace the camera for myself. 
I usually just take candid photos of the kids. 
I am glad I did this.  I had fun & so did the kids. 
They liked having me hold them for a photo.
They all giggled when they saw how their picture turned out. 
It was good to embrace the camera.
Thanks Anderson Crew!


emily said...

loved reading your's a heavy topic.

glad you all had fun embracing the camera :)

big hair betty said...

Great post! LOVED the photos of you and the kids!!!

Stef said...

Great post, Erin.

During our time with the women we reach out to (with our Bible study groups) it breaks my heart to hear them tell me how many churches and how many Christian families they have tried to seek help from in the past and have actually been turned away, or just ignored and treated like they have a disease. So sad.
Jesus wasn't ignorant. He *chose* to heal the broken and give hope to those who thought they had no hope.

I love your idea to look outside the box and see how we can help and encourage our families to be more aware and loving.
For us, its brought nothing but blessing - for all 5 of us.

Stef said...

I also meant to say the pictures with your kids are SO cute!

Amber said...

good post and cute pictures!

Krista said...

Very good post Erin, it is a good reminder.

Also, very cute pictures!

Stephanie said...

What a beautiful post [it gave me goosebumps].

This is a challenge I want to take to heart.

Stef said...

I also meant to say the pictures with your kids are SO cute!