I just finished reading an article in the New York Times about our city and the trouble going on here with race and socioeconomic issues. Some things never change, unfortunately. And yet some things do change, slowly but change nonetheless. Read this article if you get a chance and pray for our city, for people being taken advantage of, for people that would rather turn their heads and walk away than to help change this place for the better. It is part of the reason we live in the neighborhood that we do.
What this article did not report on is some of the good going on in this city, some of the change that has been for the better. Every morning last week I would wake up and see 9 young adults work on Ms. Farris' house next door. They were here with a group from SOS, www.sosmemphis.org, who were giving Ms. Farris a new roof but much more than that when you look below the surface. They were giving her a glimmer of hope, good change in the midst of bad, a picture of Jesus. Each afternoon they sat on her front porch, sharing lunch and a devotional with her. They gave her warm smiles each morning as they arrived and hugs each afternoon when they left. They were young adults who have given up a week of their summer to be in the extreme heat of Memphis not because they had to but because they wanted to, because they know change is a good thing or at least it can be.
Apathy is probably one of the worst problems we see here in Binghampton. Either people are so far at the bottom they don't care anymore or they think that no one else cares so why should they. I believe that if we eradicate this apathy we will begin to see big change here. When people like Ms. Farris see that people love her and care then she starts to care. And hopefully there is a ripple effect.
Yes, there are problems here. Problems with the economy, problems with race, problems with drugs, crime, the list goes on...and truthfully it can wear on you, make you feel like we have taken one step forward but two steps back. But I believe in a God of redemption and restoration, one that is alive and well in Binghampton, Memphis and the world.