Intro to Watsonopolis

There was one who once said crazy things like, give your possessions to the poor, let your light shine, go to the ends of the earth, love God, love your neighbor, serve, pray, die and live. Those words, the words of Jesus, have gripped and shaped our lives.

Because of Jesus’ life, challenge and love we are propelled into an amazing life journey; a journey that most often finds us pitching our tent among the poor and those on the margins of our world, serving, living, teaching, learning and loving there.

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« NaBloPoMo 2011 | Main | The Nature of Cities and the Future of Memphis »
Saturday
Aug202011

When Miss Alexz came to visit

From 2002 to 2006 the Watsons were continuously surrounded by college students and various young adults of other academic persuasions.  We lived in Fresno, Ca in four-plex painted pink.  We occupied one unit and the other 3 were full of young men and women doing their darnest to learn about God and His great love for the world.  And on better days we all spent our days and lives for the well being of our downtown neighborhood.  

Time and providence has moved us along and its been 5 years since we lived there and 5 years since we invested our lives into the lives of young adults on a daily, intentional basis.

And then Alexz came to live with us.  

We met Alexz earlier this year when she was in Memphis for a spring break service project with an organization that does home repair for low income home owners in our neighborhood.  A group of these college students stopped in on the Watsons one night to hear about our time in Binghampton and because they heard we were a pretty awesome family.  At the end of the evening I mentioned to Alexz, in passing really, that if she wanted to come back and intern in Memphis, she was welcome.  2 weeks later she called and said she was coming for the summer.  

She said she wanted to learn about living and serving in an urban neighborhood.  We told her we'd do our best to make sure she learned something loosely related to that topic.  We promised to find a place for her to live, to feed her and to pay her, each day, in compliments.  

I know what Alexz did, but I'm not sure what Alexz learned.  Hopefully, it was something of value for her future, for her heart and for her spirit.  Nevertheless, I can tell you what I learned and was reminded of.  Cheifly, I was reminded that my faith and my life seem most in balance, most full and most authentic the more deeply I am living in community with others.  I still need folks in my life, that live close by, are serving and living next to me and can help me reflect well on my faith and my neighborhood.  

During her time with us, we had unexpected guests stay with us for days.  We praciticed hospitality to strangers.  During her time with us, we visited with a lot of different ministers; some of them cared about the neighborhood, some seemed to care more for the church and few cared deeply about both.  We practiced discernment.  During her time with us, we had lots of meals together where we processed the events of the day and reflected on what God was saying to us through them.  We practiced communion.  During her time here we served and lived in a beautiful but broken Memphis neighborhood as a witness to the hope that is in us.  We practiced resurrection.  

Alexz is back in Illinois now.  She starts classes this week.  And though she may be telling her classmates how she spent the summer with a crazy family that takes in traveling ex-gang members and takes left over chili to community potlucks I hope she's also telling them what she learned about how to love God and love people and live well in the city.  That's the lesson I learned from Miss Alexz.  

 

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Reader Comments (1)

I definitely did learn about how to love God and people, and how to live well in the city. By living with your family I learned a lot about what patience and love looks like...(and chaos) ;) Things have been hectic since I've been back home, I haven't really had the chance to just sit and reflect on the things I did in Memphis. But I do have a lot of the things I learned written down, so I'll send it to you. I felt like I've learned so much, I don't even know where to use it, or how to express it. I loved getting to know your family, and I loved being a part of the small group. A wonderful bunch of people! They taught me what loving neighbors looks like, and loving where you live. I can't thank you guys enough for the opportunity you gave me! I will not forget it!

I hope everyone is doing well, I miss you guys!

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexz

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