Saturday night we were invited by special invitation to a 'black tie' concert/dinner in Vancouver. It was a concert featuring world renown tenor, Ben Heppner, along with the MEI children's choir and concert choir with orchestra.
The concert was a display of the beauty of God-given talent and man's diligence in perfecting the gift.
We had never been in the Wall Center where the concert was held in the Grand Ballroom. It was overwhelmingly huge... obviously no money spared in design , construction or staffing.
The hundreds of people who came dressed as befitting a black-tie event.... were expressive of what the world can offer in luxury and affluence - a blessing if managed in a godly way. Not all people blessed with this world's goods do.
By 11:30 the dinner was over and people were beginning to leave. Vic and I slipped out as well to try to find our way back through a confusion of floors, corridors, elevators, escalators, twists and turns. Surprisingly, we did find our way back to our car through the maze of underground parking and drove back out onto the streets of Vancouver ... only to encounter the other extreme of society.
The homeless had taken over the night streets in the part of Vancouver we had to drive through.
It was overload for me..
I looked … and looked at the many people who were drunk or high on drugs or propositioning… or trying to find a spot on the sidewalk to sit… among discarded junk or possessions …or loitering in a corner park - no where else to go... claiming a bench for the night. The ‘darkness’ was sooo real you could feel it .. and the street lights did nothing to dispel it.
How people can live like that is so beyond me… I can’t understand… My heart breaks and I am so repelled at the same time. The filth, the sin, the depredation, the poverty … the absolute ‘lostness’ of their souls and lives… how can it be??
Who am I to judge ? and yet .. why ? they live in a country of choice and freedom and opportunity … where and when did they begin the spiral into a literal hell ?
One girl in particular is imprinted on my mind.
She was walking along the sidewalk.. I first caught sight of her from the back…. (we were stopped at a red light) And I feared for her safely walking among the street people sitting or leaning… in groups or by one or two .. against the stores, or buildings. I hoped the policeman we had just passed talking to a group of men sitting on the sidewalk was not too far away.
She passed two men… and I watched to make sure she would pass safely .. then they said something to her.. she turned back , walked over to them and grasped their hands. It was then I looked into her face and saw she was high on drugs. She was soo out of it that I’m sure she did not know what planet she was on.. Her head movements were so unnatural… her facial expressions soo strange - why is she caught in this lifestyle ?
I wondered if I could walk among these people and witness to them of the love of God.. and I had to admit that I could not. My voice is not the one they would relate to or hear. It is not my calling .. but my heart broke and I wished that they had made better choices, that life circumstances had treated them more kindly. I prayed that God would send someone to tell them there is a God who can forgive them and make them whole.
There was such a stark contrast between the ‘black tie’ people dining in a luxurious banquet hall…. and the dirty, drug-dazed people on the street.
I was happy to come back home and step back into my world .. which is neither of the extremes I had witnessed.
I am indeed blessed … I love where God has put me.. and I am so thankful that I am rich and secure in Him instead of lost in the darkness this world offers - but my heart lingers on the thought .. how can I hide in my 'bubble' when the world is full of lost and needy souls?