Two of my neighbors come to mind. Jesus said he came for the down-and-out, sinners who needed a way to get to God. These are those people, the kind of people Jesus loves to love. They're needy and they know it.
One is a single mom, burned by Christians, off-and-on-again with her own family. She seems to have a knack at befriending people with sappy sweetness and then cutting them off. She's 31 and leaves her kids home while she goes out carousing and carrying on. I know she's got to be hurting in there. She dances to Christian worship music in her bedroom but doesn't speak to me anymore.
The other is a young guy lost between the rosary around his neck and his hoodlum friends on the corner. Sometimes he talks about wanting to be like Tim when he grows up, and sometimes he comes in at 6 am barely able to speak his own name. His mother reminds him what a good-for-nothing he is, as though he didn't already wear that like a million pounds over his shoulders.
They both enthusiastically and faithfully attended our first Alpha Course. During that time, I saw two hearts unthawing, two souls awaking to the good news of God's free and wild love for them. Now it seems to me that they're avoiding us as best they can (not very well since they live 15 feet away from our front door).
I believe in respecting people enough to let them come and go as they please, but I know, too, that they probably think they've burned their bridges with us. How can I tell them that they can still come back if they want to? How can I love them as they are? I wonder exactly how loving letting go is anyway.
If Sierra were here, she could just love them anyway. I can do that with my heart, but I don't know how to communicate it the way she could. I'm too boring, serious, and awkward.
For the record, if I start to fall, I'm counting on you to pick me up. You'd better stage an intervention. Don't let me go.