A few hours ago I was really cranky. I woke up cranky. Who knew the secret to getting over myself was Icee Pops?
See, outside my front door and on the curb, there are a dozen loiterers trying to catch any breeze or shade as they escape their single rooms with no air and indulge their addictions together. It is a tense environment right outside my door. Being alone makes leaving this place less appealing. I feel more vulnerable. I’m alone and they are hot, angry, feisty and intoxicated. I like to avoid conflict. I stay inside.
So, this afternoon when Melvin rang the bell and Anthony stopped by, I stood in the yard with them barely faking polite interest in what they had to tell me. I wanted to invite them in, have a cold drink and enjoy the air conditioning together, but I knew I couldn’t. I knew I couldn’t and I was really frustrated by that.
I came inside and hid. I hid from their poverty. I hid from the drama and addiction outside my gate. I hid from my dear friends who are losing their minds in this heat.
Eventually I wondered what I was going to do for dinner – as if dinner would cure my cranky mood. As much as I wanted to order out, I felt trapped in my apartment with no food and a kitchen still in disarray from my recent move. To leave to get food would be to walk through a potential mine field of angry, high neighbors. To order in meant to pay extra in lue of a short walk and would show the angry, hot neighbors just how privileged I am; I can have mexican delivered from a block away.
So I did what so often I do – I processed my feelings on facebook. As I was mid-lament about being trapped and entitled and rich and educated and white (I have much to learn about humble gratitude) – it hit me! I have dozens of icee pops in the freezer!!! My ticket out!
So off I went! I filled a cooler bag with icee pops and scissors and 8 bottles of water and I headed out my gate excited!
I walked right up to the circus outside my gate and began to hand out bottles of water. The smiles, hand shakes, and terms of endearment were humbling – especially considering the torture these folks were enduring in this heat coupled with their addictions and bickering. What a lovely thing to see a break in the tension and smiles and wide eyes spread around the group. But I wasn’t done. I reached in my bag and pulled out a handful of super frozen icee pops! What a delight!
As I walked on in pursuit of my favorite mexican place down the street, I knew I had helped in a very small way relieve hellish pains from my neighbors.
On I went, passing strangers and offering them icee pops. I came to realize, these icee pops weren’t just a decoy to help me get out of my apartment, they really were a tool to pull me out of my own selfish pity party and allow me to engage God’s heart for my neighbors.
A few people looked at me like I was crazy or politely said no, but most said yes and were thrilled! People love to pick their own color too! It’s so cute to see how most people have a favorite flavor.
I found myself explaining when people looked at me weird; “I didn’t want to leave my apartment in this heat, but I knew if I had something to give people as I walked to the store I wouldn’t mind the heat so badly!”
I was right! It was a delightful trip! Not only did I grab dinner but I went on to the grocery store and picked up a few items. It was a very sucessful trip!
I have another box in the freezer right now preparing for my trip out tomorrow. I can’t wait to continue to love on the people in my neighborhood just because it’s fun.
God told Abraham that he was blessed in order to be a blessing. I’m a child of Abraham (and so are you most likely) and what God told Abraham is true for us too. We are blessed to be a blessing.
It’s hard to know what that means when I sit in my recliner with two air conditioners keeping me cool when my neighbors sit on the curb in 100 degrees bickering with each other. It’s hard to know how to be a blessing as a single woman living alone for a few days. It’s hard to know how to be a blessing with limited resources and unlimited need around me.
But icee pops sure helped me today.
You try it! Go get a box, stick them in your freezer and go out tomorrow being a blessing. You have been blessed!