Displaced from Comfort

Tim Campbell   |   October 05, 2016

What does it mean to be a displaced human being?

Webster’s Dictionary defines displace as “to remove from the usual or proper place,” which I find both fascinating and nervously close to my heart.

I am a displaced Canadian in a foreign world.

My interpretation of this verb is that it is one of un-comfort – we position ourselves in places, situations, and with people we are comfortable with so that we may thrive. But what happens to those who are not in such places, or with such people?

I know I should be the last person to talk about uncomfortable places and situations, after all – I’m a Canadian from the great white north living in Los Angeles, California! How difficult can life be when there are beaches, tourist stops, celebrities, and mountains?

I must admit there is a side to L.A. (and the U.S., though these things happen back home, too) that I was not prepared for, and that makes me extremely uncomfortable. There is a profound dichotomy between the rich and well off (which I am a part of) and the homeless. There is a disconnect between services provided and those who need them. There are wide opinions about politics and world affairs.

To get to North Hollywood, I drove with three other people across the country, graciously hosted by amazing human beings I otherwise would never have met. I saw wild terrain, witnessed fascinating ministries, and sat with folks with no other intention than to hear the stories of others. We were always well fed, our meals were covered, and experiences abounded.

But I cannot live in peace knowing there are very serious problems around me, which I am now wildly more attuned to in the NBA XPLOR program.

It is okay to dwell in a place of un-comfort. XPLOR Laboratory was a time in St. Louis to begin to learn how to be in community, to share, learn, and grow. From then to today, I have heard the doubts of others and shared the ones I keep in my heart, and we have lifted each other up. We are free to explore our questions and doubts in our ministries and personal and spiritual lives, and I am ever grateful for it.

I hope I can connect with the proper people and resources to make a difference in North Hollywood and beyond. After all, while I may be displaced from my comfort, there are people who are truly displaced humans – from Mexico, or Syria, or any other number of countries, who were displaced not by choice, and are living in sub-par conditions. I don’t think I can fully describe how much I want to help, the yearning in my being.

A wise woman once said that God will make us comfortable – but only enough so as to be displaced and go make a difference. I am comfortable in this amazing community – now I’m ready to be the difference in the world.

Tim Campbell is a 2016-17 NBA XPLOR Resident in North Hollywood, CA. He serves with host congregation First Christian Church of North Hollywood and community engagement site AIDS Project Los Angeles.

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NBA XPLOR is a 10-month service residency opportunity for young adults ages 21-30, with the purpose of empowering young adults to discern and develop a “heart for care” as they live together in simple community, engage in direct service and justice work, engage in leadership development, and discern their vocational calls to honor the various communities they are called to serve. Learn more and apply at nbacares.org/xplor.

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