Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Ballad of Peachtree Street

Peachtree Street with her tall trees skirted in emerald ivy, strings itself through Atlanta's downtown as if she were a secret kept only for those parched and weary of concrete and glass buildings. I walked her way last week and knew I was amidst the sacred, the preserved part of a city whose towers no longer remember their roots. And as I ambled past cafes and patios polka dotted with black bistro sets I marveled in the culture, the variety, the vastness, the couture of God's creation. Then I saw them--spaced apart like park benches--they lay here and there, unnoticed. A part of the landscape to the buzzing administrative assistants, the graphic designers and marketing researches, they went unnoticed and unregarded. Homeless. Without a place to go, without money to get there, without purpose, they dozed at noon while others hurried past to grab a bite to eat before returning to the business hub. Broken lives wasted--this is the ballad of the homeless man on Peachtree Street. When Jesus had fed the masses--a miracle to all who witnessed this act--he made a statement that always penetrates my spirit. "Gather up the broken pieces that are left over, so that nothing is wasted." (John 6:12) Of course he's talking about bread and fish here, but to me it says so much more. When I think of those men and women, hair long, faces brown with weather and lives void of purpose, I can't help but think when were they broken? Once they were whole and somewhere along the way things happened and they were left discarded as useless, no longer worth picking up and taking home. And then I consider the lives of those who I know and love. I think of the broken pieces of a life torn by abortion, the remnants of a life torn by death. I recall the shreds remaining when marriages end and children and wives are left to sift through the rubble. I'm nauseous at the reality of alcoholism and drug addictions that leave in their wake only debris, debris and more debris. Broken pieces. And there are moments when I want to shake my fist and swear and ask, why? Why? WHY? I want to shout out, "This isn't fair." And Jesus says, "Gather up the broken pieces...so that nothing is wasted." Nothing is wasted. I have not lived out the greatest heartaches. I'm certain there are those that measure far deeper than my own, but of those that I have seen there is one thing I am certain: God does not waste our pain. He does not discard our grief. He does not cast off our hurt or our confusion or our sorrow. He gathers with hands that are skilled and gentle healers. He binds. He knits together. He multiplies. He soothes. He redeems. He renews. He brings a light into the darkest recesses of our pain and causes life to emerge from the places that have suffocated our spirits and left us for dead. Our God never leaves those places. He does not. I know when His Spirit passes the path of Peachtree Street He calls out to those sunken frames that huddle on sidewalk and corner, "You are mine and you have purpose. You have value and you have My Love." And when His Spirit passes the deep places of our own hearts He sings the song of restoration, "I heal the brokenhearted and bandage their wounds." (Psalm 147:3) Pray with Me: Father, You are the binder of the broken and the healer of the hurting. You are the restorer. Will you take the pieces, Lord, that I see before me and restore life to them. Return to them your original purpose that they would again have use in a world where hope seems an intangible theory. You are the God of hope. You are hope, Lord. I believe you will restore and I ask that you would grant me faith and patience as I wait to see your plan unfold. Amen. Read with me: Isaiah 61 Psalm 147

1 comment:

Anne Arnold Pierce said...

Sarah, this is beautifully written. I hope your taking some time to investigate publication. Your gift is to write and my prayer for you is that more and more it will reach more and more.