Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pastor Dad and Compassion

Normally for my Pastor Dad posts, I have written about my middle son and his travails particularly when I was in the middle of leading worship at my previous congregation. But about six weeks ago my oldest son gave me something to reflect upon.

On April 22, I was taking students from the campus ministry that I serve to a Pirates game. It was a great day to go but I had a few tickets leftover and I decided to see if my boys wanted to go with me.  It would be a very long day for both of them, but I figured it would be fun. And it was. And the students were also helpful in herding the boys. We took the bus from the Lutheran University Center to PNC Park and my younger son just jumped on board pushing his way past everyone to sit by himself toward the back of the bus. Several students followed him and sat with him. Made my heart settle down. They watched my older son as the younger wanted to run the bases but the older did not. It was a very nice day that way.

But what has been sticking in my brain was what happened after we left the ball park. Our group was walking back to the bus stop and in Pittsburgh that meant walking over the Clemente Bridge to the downtown portion of the city. Along the way, there were panhandlers with signs asking for money. Now these were not particularly shocking panhandlers, at least not for anyone who has walked city streets before. But for my oldest it was shocking. My younger son was blissfully oblivious to their presence. They might as well have been invisible to him. Just like infants see only black, white and red, five-year olds (at least my five-year old) do not see such need and want. Somewhere between five and nine though, they become visible.