Today I spent a few hours on the football field. That isn’t entirely unusual for me since my son has played football since he was in 2nd grade, however today I was on the football field cheering for both teams.  Actually, we were cheering for all the teams. Today we went to see our inner city orphan buddy (see blog, “A New Man in My Life”) play in a Special Olympics game. Ever since I was catapulted head first into this faith adventure, I have had one wish.As I meet new people in these new places, places I rarely ventured into before now with people I didn’t bother to care much about, my wish is the same:  that everyone could be wearing a sandwich board that told me their story.  Why does the very cool guy who runs my buddy’s group home, work with these special people?The little boy sitting by us in the bleachers in the wheelchair with an elderly woman, is that his grandma, mom, aunt? Who is he here watching? Do all of the kids at the group home where my buddy lives have families or are they also orphans? What is everyone’s story? Inquiring minds want to know.

It is easy for me to want to know the stories of special people. God has broken my heart for the helpless who do not have parents, a home or any advocate.  I want to somehow bless the people who take care of my buddy and others like him.  I want to know their stories, how they became social workers and why they have a heart for orphans and people with special needs. But God has been reminding me lately, that although it is great to want to know everyone’s story in this new world He has exposed us to, EVERYONE has a story. The annoying lady who cuts me off in traffic, the sassy barista at Starbuck’s who hates her job so seems to hate me for existing, the kids’ who are mean to my kids… they all have a story. It is definitely easier for me to love the “least of these” and want to read their sandwich board. It is much harder to love those who appear to have no reason to act the way they do. God has been convicting me about rationalizing that some people’s sandwich boards deserve to be read while other’s I can completely ignore. God is teaching me that although it feels good to want to know the story of the helpless, the weak and the less fortunate, loving like Christ calls us to means loving the rude, unlikeable and the spoiled as well. No selective sandwich board reading? Bummer.

“Dear Lord, Thank you for introducing me to my buddy, to other special people and to the people who care for them. But thank you that their sandwich board stories should not make them any more deserving of love than anyone else. Thank you that you don’t call me to know everyone’s story, you just call me to treat everyone with love. Period. When I encounter someone particularly difficult to love Lord, please give me a mental picture of them wearing a sandwich board. And thank you, Father that you do not love me, reward or punish me based on my past, present or future. Oh, and thanks again for my buddy and all you are teaching me though this adventure with him.  In Your Name, Amen.”