I read this blog post yesterday by a guy named Chris Marshall. I was also at this film on Sunday night, and felt like his words were spot on. So, with his permission, I wanted to post his words on my blog in the hopes that it will speak to you as well.
I now have so many friends and people within my networking context that have both been to La Limonada or have a role in serving/helping/partnering there now. Cincinnati in particular seems to have been infected with the virus of partnership that springs from the ghetto in Guatemala.
Our house church community had one of my former students, Rebecca Gant, come to one of our gatherings and share her story there when she was home over Christmas. She serves there, with a threat to her life and well-being, because she’s in love. She’s in love with the people, she’s in love with a life of meaning, she’s in love with the smell that comes from the city dump, for her and the others that serve there, it smells like hope.
Don’t try making sense of it, these are the things in life not meant to be sensible.
After the screening, Tita, one of the main subjects of the movie shared just a few words about her work there and her partnership with Lemonade International
. Tita’s joy in life is infectious, the woman gardens in abject poverty and sees and smells beauty. She won’t give up on the people that live in her heart. Their story is her story. This is not her job description, this is her soul lived outward. Employment is something you have, a calling is something that has you.
So, Tita, in her simple and humble manner, suggested this slice for life: ‘find your ghetto’. I found these words to be haunting.
Poverty comes in many forms. I’ve walked in slums all over the world and I can tell you that it changes you. It becomes difficult to walk in my suburban megastore grocery with 437 different brands of cereal when I’ve seen others mix water with dirt and call it soup.
Can I tell you about the poverty I see and live in? I drove home from the screening tonight past the landscape of subdivisons built off of golf courses with names meant to instill thoughts of a regal countryside but are really built upon the cheapest of construction sand to ensure profitability. The entire neighborhood is built on fantasy, it’s a fascade. Amidst the walls of these excesses of square footage achievements of the American dream are many flavors of the broken family. Not because they want to be, but because they don’t know another story. Marriages characterized by distance and deception. Parenting wrapped in fear instead of intimacy. Teenage girls raised on idealic false images of self all the while never comfortable in their own skin, for them life is a beauty pageant they wish they never entered. Teenage boys raised in isolation because Dad must put in the hours at work to both provide for the suburban expectations and to prove his own worth he never received during his growing up years. These teenage boys have access to countless hours of leisure and believe the lies of porn that the world is about them and their consumption. Mom is just trying to hold it together, all the while feeling like a slave to obligations and wonders if she will ever recover her freedom to think, feel and be loved. The homes are built for individual space, they are cocoons of privacy. The garage door goes up, the car goes in, the door shuts. This is about private possession, there is no shared story with a larger community. They all started out with the American dream, many have only found that it’s the white picket fence they erected that keeps them from the life of meaning they once longed for. They have bought the lies and they were more than not true, they were expensive.
How do they cope? It’s not the adhesive sniffing of la limonada, they medicate differently in their addictions. Entertainment, amusement, escape, consumerism, prescriptions, drink, sexual appetites, achievements, promotions, status upgrades, vehicles, toys, trophy kids, secret lives, gaming, watching, dvr’ing, playing, competing, the next vacation, the next thing, the next magic pill, cutting, buying, lying, keeping busy, credit card debt etc. etc.
These people are my people, they are me. They are lonely, they lack meaning, they are broken . . . this is suburban destitution. We are lonely, we lack meaning, we are broken . . . we are destitute. This is my ghetto. May I be faithful in service here, may I find a voice to tell an alternative story.