A few months ago I noticed some friends driving through the neighborhood with a strangely-out-of-place look on their face. We've all seen it before. The look was of one who had found that coveted wide-open space to live on, that bigger house, that perfect neighborhood with the ideal school. In our culture we call it upward mobility, but they had the look while driving through my neighborhood—the ghetto!
I knew something very unusual must be happening, so I made a strong mental note to call my friends about what was up. I knew they were trying to find a new home, but I had long ago stopped prodding them to consider living in Mills. They're the missional types, which makes them so easy to appreciate. Still for folks like them living in Mills is a big sacrifice.
Lo and behold, two months later they have a house in Mills. They made sure not to tell some of the folks who would be concerned before they bought. They could predict the response. "Please get an alarm!" "Nice fixer upper!" These are responses I understand and can empathize with.
But the look my friends wore didn't resemble these thoughts. Their eyes alone were a brilliant smile. What were they thinking in that moment months ago when I saw them on East Main and Darrow? What the heck was an all-the-wide-open-space-I-could-ever-want look doing in Mills?
When I finally spoke with them my suspicions were confirmed. It was the look of a couple not searching for the perfect life, but a pure life given to God and neighbors. On my friends' face I saw them beholding Jesus among those he spent nearly his entire life with and those he said we must not forget to give our energy loving.
In his book From Brokenness to Community, Jean Vanier writes "Those with whom Jesus identifies himself are regarded by society as misfits. And yet Jesus is that man who is hungry; Jesus is that woman who is confused and naked. Wouldn't it be extraordinary if we all discovered that? The face of the world would be changed."