I had an amazing conversation with my goddaughter after the recent shootings in Oregon. She was overwhelmed by the sadness of it all. And she was frustrated that no one had an inkling that the gunman was ready to explode in rage.
We had a great visit about how people are invisible in our society. Not just those with homicidal tendencies, but those with handicaps, diseases, mental illness, those who suffer from depression and a laundry list of other concerns.
That conversation made me think of the “invisible boy of Mumbai.” A nine-year-old named Lakhan Kale who was found tied to a Mumbai bus stop. Although at first glance, the story appears to describe an abusive situation, the truth is Lakhan has cerebral palsy, is deaf and unable to care for himself. His grandmother is his only family and she has to go to work in order to buy the meager food that they do have. So tying him to that pole seemed to be the safest way to care for him while she was gone.
The sad part of the story is that thousands of people passed that busy corner everyday and no one noticed him tied there.
That is a sad story, but I am wondering today, how many folks are “tied up” in my community. Who am I passing by and ignoring everyday?
As my goddaughter and I finished that conversation, I exhorted her to be an agent of change. I asked her to look around her neighborhood and notice, really notice those folks that need some help. To take some time at work to listen and really listen for concerns that she might address.
This week might be a good time for all of us to simply pay attention to the people in our world. We need to check in with neighbors, visit with the elderly at church, give the teenagers in our lives some quality time to express their frustrations and listen, really listen to our family and friends.
There are people “tied up” all around us. The gospel of Jesus Christ is freeing, but we have to deliver the message.