Friday, August 10, 2012

The question.

Why are you here at this time? she asked.

He routinely came in the evening, but was found mid-day helping at the shelter.
Empty time led to the familiar trap of darkness that held him in bondage.

Hard to be at home? she asked.
The alcohol? she pressed.
Can't be home alone, he admitted.

Having learned the hard way, all surrounding walls had crumbled leaving him open and vulnerable.
They talked with no boundaries of the heart. Both in a broken condition, both understanding that judgment would not be passed in either direction.

How can we ever know the condition of another if words are left unsaid?

I wasn't there when it happened. Only from the memories made and shared was I able to taste the experience of living less for self and more for others.

They prayed on street corners, asked hard questions, fed the hungry, and learned life outside their own.

Somewhere along the line of living we have slowly built walls. Walls that go where we go. Walls that inhibit the true condition of our hearts to be known. We bottle our griefs and lies, are shame and fear. Things are better left unsaid, better left unknown.

I was recently directed to a photographer that captures portraits of humans living in New York City.

Being one that is drawn to the human condition, and photography, I spent the last 2 hours looking, reading, and praying. Moments of laughter quickly turned to weeping. I could see the walls. I could feel their desires to be heard and known. Whimsical appearances, rough words, humor, and made-up ideas. People running after justification and individuality, setting themselves apart to be seen as independent and unique.

I saw my old condition in them. Myself prior to Christ.

Faces captured with the push of a button. But the depth unknown.

How can we ever know the condition behind the face if questions are left unasked? 

Asking the question sets my mind spinning. Spinning with the faces of the ones I don't know because of the questions I don't ask. Surface conversations lead to surface relationships;lacking roots and depth.

Opportunities have come and gone, one after the other. I continually let my flesh take hold and stop the words from forming. Perhaps this is why the Truth of God is unknown by many. We fear the conversations and questions that reveal our current state. Tip-toeing around the potential fear of being wrong. Why is there no tolerance for asking the hard questions?

What are the questions? Or could it possibly be summed up into one?

We may ask how the weather is, what hobbies fill our extra time, what restaurant received our raving review, the reason for the season, or why the wind blows where it pleases. But in the end where do the empty questions leave you? On the day of judgement what will it have mattered if you liked the lasagna here or the fish tacos there?

For sometime now I have repeatedly encountered one question being asked. A question that I spoke as I looked at the humans of New York City.

What is their story of salvation?

When the shutter goes off is the condition of our heart captured? Or are the walls of pride, grief, shame, and fear stopping the correct exposure from developing.

Does our reality reflect our salvation?

Hard to be at home? she asked.
The alcohol? she pressed.
Can't be home alone, he admitted.

The questions we avoid could be the ones that keep salvation as our reality.

Had I been with the man in the afternoon, I would have asked him the one question.

What is your salvation story?
And then taken his picture. 


In weeks to come you will see faces. 
You will see portraits and read stories. 
Stories that answer the question.

If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

No comments: