Thursday, February 23, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Edith is a woman who has been burned into my memory because of her loud personality and role in my life. She is a 40 year old, disabled black woman who lives in the projects of Charleston.
As I stood in the parking lot of an abandoned gas station cooking hot dogs on a portable grill, I began to wonder if what we were doing was crazy. Some friends and I had felt compelled to go to the projects of Charleston and set up a table offering free food and the love of Christ. At this point, we hadn’t gotten much more than some confused looks and a few honks from the passing cars. I began to question our purpose and if we were doing this in vain or in God’s name. My answer came soon after that from a short stocky black woman yelling at us from about 50 yards away.
Edith got our attention 50 yards out and carried a conversation all the way to us without ever changing her tone. Within minutes she realized that we really were serving free hot dogs and that we just wanted to talk to people. She said, “y’all don’t go anywhere I will be right back.”
10 minutes later we had a line of about 20 people waiting to eat with us and to here about Gods call on our lives and theirs. It was like Edith was the voice of the homeless. She was their advocate checking out the new guys to see if we were worth the trip.
This was the first of many interactions with Edith over a period of time that allowed me to get to know her life very well. She opened up to me and shared about her family and her dark situation in the projects. I will never forget what she taught me about self esteem, hope and
the confidence that can be found within.
I was driving her home one day and she told me her apartment was the one with the sunflowers. I continued driving and looking for a door with a wreath or a sunflower door mat when right there, in the line of identical public housing apartments, was a 5 foot tall sunflower. I asked Edith about it and she came alive. She told me how she had to go to the housing office to get permission, then she planted the seed and watered the seed and watched it become what it is now. She was so proud of that sunflower and for a moment she wasn’t the woman in the projects, she was the woman who grew a sunflower.
Edith opened my eyes to one of the biggest traps in poverty; Lack of motivation and self worth. If the world says you are worthless, you will be worthless. But we are all capable of something; Edith grew a sunflower. Help someone discover that something.