Selfless. A word I had no way of understanding until several months ago. You see, we go on with our lives in this bubble where only we are of importance. Our concerns, problems, and situations weigh us down in such a way that others cease to matter. For the longest time I thought my mentality in regards to selflessness changed once I surrendered my life fully and realized I could not do this thing called life on my own. So onwards I went, doing my best to meet standards that were not humanly possible to accomplish. Change in my life began, but the catalyst for the major transformation in my heart truly propelled when I put myself aside and looked at the issues of those who are brokenhearted. A broken world encircled with broken people. That is why this change has not reached its full potential yet nor will it ever. This change occurs everyday when I have to make myself carry my own cross, forget about my issues, and follow a Truth that is far beyond human understanding.
About a year ago, a group of young adults made up their mind to live selflessly outside of church walls, religious institutions, and outside the norm of charity organizations. This group of friends decided to go out into the streets of their city in order to show the individuals they encountered love. If the way we were living our lives wasn’t transforming our generation in some way then something was terribly wrong, that thought was our driving force. There was no goal to start neither a movement nor a lifestyle the ultimate goal became to make it our life mission to “love God and love people”. It began in downtown Tampa, a city like any other filled with people who seemed to have lost their purpose, their breath. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. What ended up happening was that we took the time to create relationships with people every week—from individuals hanging around in nightclubs to homeless people that were completely forgotten in our city. These people became our friends as we continued to hear their stories and share in their sufferings.
A few weeks ago we ran into our dear friend Tom only to find him in the darkest hole we’d ever seen him in. Tom had become one of the people who encouraged us along with the rest of the homeless people to keep our heads up. That night we found him sitting in the steps of the church downtown—hopeless and desperate due to his economic situation. Nothing we said seemed to be of help at that instance and each of us felt defeated as if all we built up had crumbled into lost ruins. We had gone out for a year now into the streets feeding these people, and providing for their physical and spiritual needs as much as we could. But that wasn’t enough. There had to be more we could do. That night we had no words, we could try and help though there was no denying the fact that we were soon to go home in our fancy cars and our warm beds to loving families that always provided food for us. The last thing we wanted was to treat people as charity cases. This was a wake up call. Even if we had the possible resources to meet the physical needs of each of these lives and take them out of the streets, there was something that meant much more to us. Tom was hurt, not able to look us in the face because he was afraid he was going to offend us as he hid a bottle of liquor in his palms. Our hearts began to break as our friend Tom was drenched in tears and intoxicated on those church steps. We had forgotten that we were dealing with real people with real hearts and real souls. As much as we wanted to bring about change, we learned that there is no possible way we could replace anyone’s heart or past situations; the healing of broken hearts is only achieved by the One who crafted it with His very hands.
As I write, I realize this story is not about me being part of this group of young people who wanted to make a difference. This story is about every heart that has felt hopeless, hurt, abused, forgotten, unloved, and hated. Loving God and loving people is the way I understand selflessness. If we focus on the Truth that there is a perfect God who passionately pursues the hearts of imperfect people, hope will be found. So now I write, I paint, I dance only to tell the stories of the many whom fill up our cities and find themselves to be completely drowned by the darkness. We are Kingdom Culture.