Back against the cold concrete we spotted his face peeking out between brightly lit car lights, crouched with change cup placed between his runners. It was a bad night for him–body feeling sick, unable to keep food down, exhausted from his lack of sleep and tired of being mistreated. We sat together as a haze of people brushed past, he called out “good evening” and “have a good night” to each passerby but it sounded thin among the hurry. Gently exasperated he exhaled slowly glancing at me with a shrug. He spoke of being looked at like garbage and how it made him feel hopeless. He told of trying to be a gentleman but was judged on by his appearance. He had been spit upon, looked at with disgust, received the brunt of a joke, and an easy target for throwing punches. Such depth to his despair and the hollowed look on his face, the slumped shoulders. There was nothing I could do or say to make his pain all better. I so badly wanted to. “I just want one night in a nice warm bed, and a hot shower all for myself,” he muttered without a hint of complaining or blaming in the slightest. He was just sharing.
I felt powerless.
All the words I thought of speaking would seem shallow and meaningless. All the advice or possible help I could offer him would only be repetition. What was left? I asked if I could pray for him. To my surprise he hung his head immediately and welcomed my hand on his shoulder. His eagerness spilled the change from his cup without taking notice. There was a holy moment as we talked with Jesus. His expression relaxed and eventually softened, nodding agreement to the words spoken. Oh, that smile when we finished was contagious, his sweet face so kind, his humility will forever be teaching me.
–Reproduced from an outreach encounter by Jessica H