While waiting for one of my children who has a standing appointment one evening a week, I take a leisurely stroll around one of the more beautiful sections of the city. In the course of 45 minutes I see a monastery, an oratory and a cathedral. I walk past museums full of priceless art and a sprawling library that pays notable homage to The Bard. I also see the hidden people who come out at night - the homeless in various stages of destitute. It occurred to me I might come across the young man who broke my heart a few weeks back. This was a miscalculation on my part.
There are so many people who fit his description that it is simply overwhelming. And if you give to one you are quickly surrounded by a mob that at times borders on threatening. So all I do is smile and acknowledge there is a human being underneath the grime and possibly the lice.
A few weeks ago I saw on ABC News an experiment where people volunteered to appear homeless and sit on a sidewalk where a member of their family were going to pass by where they could see them. None of them did. One man even walked past his own wife, failing to recognize her in the distressing disguise of the poor.
There are people who have made their life's work tending to the needs of the lowliest members of our society. Every week I see a large white van pull up on the parkway and become quickly surrounded by homeless. Meals and clothing are handed out. The Good Samaritans remain as anonymous as those they serve. One gentleman uses his own money, of which he does not have much, to prepare home-cooked meals that he delivers each week. He doesn't go on vacation or eat in expensive restaurants. In fact he doesnt eat out at all. Every cent he has is spent on his little mission. He didn't wait to win the lottery to take care of perfect strangers. He gives out of his own, here and now.
Lord, when did we see You hungry or poor or naked or ill?
Just open your eyes and see Him everywhere, in every stage of human misery where just one kind word might be all it takes to save someone from the brink.