Sometimes justice is sticky.
Hitting the recreation center at a low income housing community was the last thing on my wish list a few weeks ago. I like my Saturday mornings wrapped in one-third coffee and two-thirds quiet.
On this particular Saturday, I adjusted my attitude, grabbed my huge candy bag and headed out to join our latest church Incarnation Project–a mobile Fall Festival. This community center was our morning location; another was chosen for the afternoon.
It was unusually empty for a play area, but slowly kids arrived to check out the various games and craft activities scattered across the asphalt. The smell of hot dogs and popcorn was a huge draw. Free candy didn’t hurt either.
Single mothers and grandparents accompanied many of the younger children. I interviewed some who could speak English and learned that few fathers lived in the complex.
A single parent on inadequate income will take whatever housing is available. That seemed to be the situation in this location of town. A welfare check or a low paying job provided little of life’s privileges for these people. Many of the blessings I take for granted were not even on their radar.
Folks do reap what they sow, but it doesn’t seem fair. Children are not responsible for their parent’s choices or for life’s hardships.
Where was the justice for these kids?
A friend commented on how hard it was for him growing up in a poor community and receiving gifts from those who seemed to have so much more then he did. “I loved the candy, but felt shamed. I wanted the gifts, but felt resentful towards those who had so much more then we did.”
I didn’t know how to respond to his statement.
In trying to bring a little justice into children’s lives, was I also causing them to feel shame?
I know a small amount of justice was being served that day in the form of candy and games. Yet, in thinking over my friend’s remark, I realized that it was sticky justice. I am still processing the comment; and I still have some leftover sticky candy in my bag.
What do you think?
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