I believe all we have is the result of what God has given us. He is the giver of all good things, and the one responsible for all we have. What we have been given is ours to share with those around us. What we have been blessed with, we use as a blessing to others. I believe this with my whole heart.

Then, there is the side of me that really struggles as I watch the the neighborhood kids play rough with our swing set. Take bits of it apart and damage it. I watch them come to our backyard and grab the scooter to ride it without asking. I watch them walk right through our front door without knocking and look at me and say, "I wanted to play with the skateboard." The first thing out of one of the kids mouth on our block is, "Can I have some apple slices or peanuts and raisins?"

It's just take, take, take. Then I am robbed of the blessing of giving. It starts to turn my heart cold and distant because I don't feel seen as a person. Who we are and what we posses gets taken advantage of. What's even harder is I know that this may be the only time this kid gets fruit for the day, and I want to bless him with that, but my attitude has been hard to deal with lately.

It was interesting after the tornado, everyone was taking. Wires down? Take them and get money for it. Metal, copper, fences, wood, you name it, people were coming in to take it and get what they could for it. I understand this place. You have to fight for every thing you have and if you aren't fighting for it, than you will end up without enough. It's a scrappy little world we live in here in N. Mpls. (As I assume it is the same in other places as well.)

At some point only so much can be taken from you until you grow numb to it.

Today while I was preparing dinner, I watched out my back window as this truck pulled up and a gal got out and started digging through my compost bin and garden. She started harvesting my summer squash. I'm not a big one for confrontation, especially in the ghetto, but I had hit my limit of people just taking from me. I had this overwhelming feeling of surprise that someone would be so confident to just take and harvest someone else's garden in broad daylight. Who does that? I was ticked and offended and hurt.

I walked outside.

I repeatedly said Hi as I walked up to this young gal with her mother looking on from the driver's seat. Turns out it was Rachel, a great lady I met who lives down our block. I met her after the tornado and we chatted even more on national night out at our block party. She felt really bad as I greeted them in the alley.

Here Rachel thought she was harvesting our abandoned neighbor's veggies. (which is a little weird since its directly in our yard, but whatever.) Her daughter quickly gave over the summer squash and apologized and then I felt bad for all the things I was thinking and feeling. They didn't want such great food to go to waste, so they were making sure it got used. Rachel looked at me and said, "I hope you never get to the point of needing to harvest strangers yards for food."

Compassion pulled at my heart. I want all we have to be a blessing to others. On the other hand, fruits and veggies are the primary thing my family eats. Growing our garden vegetables is our most economic way of making it work financially. We need that food. And yet, here was someone who was desperate enough to scrounge in a compost bin and garbage almost. I was humbled, and so we shared. We kept a squash, and they took a squash.

I still don't like being taken from. I would wish to give instead.

In the end, the difference is knowing someones story. They most likely function in a different set of rules and guidelines, and we have the opportunity to invite them into ours. A way of love, blessings, and giving.

Mostly I pray that God can resolve the tension in my heart to be one of trust. To trust him enough to let go, to defend when needed, and to give always.