Friday night Warren told us that a friend of his was getting kicked out of the place she'd been living and had nowhere to go, and asked if she could stay with us for a few days while she sorted it out. This was not the first time something like this has happened. Between the fact that Warren has a lot of friends from more precarious circumstances than himself and the fact that he actually has a very soft heart, we have had extra kids here at various times. She is at least the third to stay here short-term to avoid imminent homelessness, and if I thought longer I might recall more. So much so, in fact, that when I talked to Sam on the phone and mentioned it he said, “Mom, you do realize you're not running a youth hostel, right?”
It's not always easy. People in situations like this usually need help with transportation. They need to eat. They need to take showers, and to sleep somewhere. When the someone is female, logistics are even more complicated. And of course, there's the nagging concern about security. Is this person as he or she seems? Is it safe having him or her here in my house, or are we going to come home one day to find all our valuables gone?
This young lady actually ended up staying with us only two days and one night. She left last night to re-enter the uncertain life she knows. She was really very sweet and I wish we could have done something to make a more lasting impact on her life.
But the real point of this post is, I'm so glad I didn't follow my first instinct and say no. That would have been safer; by almost any standard, wiser. But I've spent most of my life living my Christian mission more in theory than practice, sending money without getting my hands dirty. Lately I have felt like God wants to disturb my status quo a little more than that.
The other reason I'm glad I didn't say no was that it was actually a delight to see how kind Warren was to her while she was with us. I had suspected, frankly, that he wanted her here because he thought it a convenient set-up to hit on her. His behavior humbled me and made me feel bad for even thinking that. He was kind and respectful. Definitely treated her more like a little sister than a dating prospect. It was a pleasant reminder of why we invited him to live with us in the first place. He can sometimes frustrate and annoy, but there's a really good heart in that young man!