Friday, March 1, 2013

Funtastic Friend Friday: Seth Crawford

Today's guest post comes from quite possibly my friend I've known the longest and my Young Life teammate, Seth. The earliest memory I have with Seth is a perfect glance into our friendship. It was second grade and we were both in Ms. Luper's class. Our class had a pet hamster (class pets... what an interesting concept) and Seth took home our little pet for the weekend... and it died. Now, in Seth's seven-year old defense, he loved the hamster and there is no reason to believe that it was his fault. I remember Seth being distraught that the hamster died on his watch, so... I had my mom (seven-year old self was pretty limited) go out and buy a new hamster for the class. And that has been Seth and I's relationship ever since... not reallllllly, but it's one of my favorite anecdotes and memories.

Seth and I have gone to school together since the good ol' elementary days. We have lived five minutes from one another since I can remember. We both came to Carolina and then somehow both ended up being Young Life leaders at East Chapel Hill. Seth and I were never really in the same group of friends growing up, but I have absolutely loved being on the same team together and growing our friendship as teammates. He has taught me to loosen up and to relax and to just enjoy the fun of everyday life. I cannot imagine leading at East without Seth; I have been inspired by his dedication to coaching Cross Country and Track at the school and by his relationships with his guys. I am so excited that he agreed to write a guest post for my blog. His words are real and his challenge to do something out of love and compassion is one that I want to actually accept. 

Seth & his wonderful girlfriend, Maggie 
Leading at Saranac Lake together in June 2011
One of my favorite team pictures from the 2011-2012 school year!


Philippians 2:4 Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Probably the most important life lesson I have learned in college is that I am one experience, one decision, one chromosome away from any number of variant walks of life. My middle-class heterosexual white maleness is of no result my own. But because of it, I have not had to experience true pain. I haven’t known what it is like to be hungry, to be hated and dehumanized, to be abused. And I am thankful. But at times, man, do I feel guilty.

I had a conversation with my dad recently, and I told him of this guilt, about how at times it consumes me. I see people facing different hardships, completely independent of bad choices or free will. I told him of this homeless kid I met on Franklin St. earlier in the week. I saw him sitting outside SubWay on my way out.

“I’ve already had a couple bites of this, but you’re more than welcome to have the rest if you want,” I said, holding the plastic bag containing what was left of a six-inch sub.
“Beats eating out of the trash can,” he looked up at me.

I decided to sit down with him for a while, I explained to my dad, because everything I have read and experienced about homelessness has told me that it is the feeling of being invisible or only semi-human that hurts the most. So, this kid started sharing his story with me. Raised in the foster care system in Minnesota, he was abused by his foster parents leading up to their split after a move to North Carolina. Eventually he moved out on his own with a one of his brothers.
After losing his job, the two got evicted and at 19 years old, this kid is a panhandler. Dirt beneath his nails and staining his hands, there is no way a potential employer would hire him. He described the plight of many of the homeless in Chapel Hill. He is homeless because he doesn’t have a job and, he can’t get a job because he is homeless.  I appreciated his openness and left this interaction realizing that the two of us aren’t that different. I’ve just been lucky enough to have two loving, financially supportive parents and he hasn’t.
My dad listened to this story and my musings on suffering and fairness. And he offered this advice: You can spend your whole life feeling guilty and angry with God or you can recognize your privileged life and gifts, and do something about it. Although I have heard similar advice in the past, for some reason, this time it hit me.
So, moving forward I want to leave those reading this with a challenge. If you’re like me, don’t stop be empathetic or hurting for the injustices others endure. Let’s go out and do what we can with what we have been blessed with, not out of guilt, but out of love and compassion.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ 

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