One can see much about the character of a person by looking intently into the eyes and facial expression of another.
This has been demonstrated today by Joe, a man here with a group from Little Rock, Arkansas. A gifted artist, he has been drawing portraits of a plethora of people. Shortly after arriving at the Boys and Girls Club this morning, he had an endless amount of kids anticipating the opportunity to be drawn.
It was obvious that some were slightly uncomfortable with the intensive attention to each and every detail of their faces. And I found myself wondering if ANYONE had ever looked that closely at some of them. Perhaps for the first time, these kids were given complete and undivided attention.
As they sat discussions were sparked and the kids began to speak of aspirations for the future. I saw glistens of hope in the midst of a community that destines them to an endless cycle of poverty.
But it doesn't end there. Later on in the day, the group went downtown to hand out care bags in addition to engaging in conversation. Yet again, Joe began to draw those he encountered. One man, in specific, stood out to the group. And there he sat in a wheelchair lacking one leg. After approaching the man, they all quickly found there was much to talk about.
With a blend of laughter and melancholy, their vulnerablility with each other spurred the conversation on to a deeper level. Thoughts of suicide ran rampant in Glen's mind as he felt there was nothing worth living for. The immense amount of suffering he had faced became more and more obvious as conversation continued. But in the midst of it all, Glen acknowledged God at work in his life. And that's when you know that faith is genuine.
Though they could not change the past, at least they provided laughter and a listening ear for today. His friend later came over with a guitar and taught the group some basic chords. Genuine community took place right there on the street corner as they bore the burdens of one another.
A picture is undoubtedly worth a thousand words.