Before I left the States, I worked at UPS for 12 years. In those 12 years I learned exactly what to expect when I went to work:
- the work would be tough
- my body would hurt at some point during the shift
- my clothes would get filthy
- my hands would be dirty when I left work
Not a day went by that I didn't experience all 4 of those truths. Now I am studying Spanish in Costa Rica. I haven't stepped foot inside a warehouse for 10 months (praise God). However, this week I began to see the similarities between working at UPS and working at La Carpio:
- the work is tough- breaking up fights, having patience with kids who are making fun of a special needs child, trying to shout the Bible story loud enough that a bunch of rowdy kids can hear it over the rain beating down on the aluminum roof.
- my body hurts at some point- I've been jack-slapped upside the back of my head by a little girl who just wanted some attention, grabbed around the neck, jumped on, almost tackled multiple times, accidentally poked in the back with a pencil by the boy who was using me as his desk.
- my clothes get dirty- I know not to wear khakis on Thursday. Jeans and a dark Tshirt are the only way to go when you know you'll be sitting on a dirty floor, wrestling little guys who are wearing dirty clothes, navigating mud puddles, and avoiding the occasional random mangy dog that might wander through the building.
- my hands get dirty- we use those cheap inflatable balls that Wal-Mart sells out of that sky-high wire basket in the middle of the toy section. They are dirt magnets and the kids love to go wild with those things. At any given moment 6 or 7 of those things could be flying around the room. We sit in the floor with the kids. We pick up the trash they have been throwing on the floor for the past hour.
When was the last time you got your hands dirty? I don't ask that in order to draw attention to anything I have done. When I was in the States I lived a pretty sterile life. I was good at operating within my comfort zone (i.e. being around people who were like me). I missed out on being a blessing to others and being blessed by them.
I've been thinking about who Jesus hung out with. It wasn't the people in his Sunday School class, or his pastor, or the middle-class guy that lived across the street. Jesus hung out with fishermen, prostitutes, and tax collectors (dudes that ripped people off for a living). I'm pretty sure his hands were getting dirty. I'm challenged (and commanded) to do the same.