"I used to feel inconvenienced when I was asked to give. Things have changed. Now I don't want to miss participating in things that last forever. I want to give the pieces of my life, my gifts and money, to whomever God says. I don't want to get to heaven and see what I could have been a part of but missed because I was numb or selfish or scared."
~~ Jennie Allen~~
A few weeks ago Caleb and I stopped by a grocery store to pick up a few things. I was in a hurry to get back home to take two of the kids to the dentist. As we were loading our groceries into the trunk a homeless man shuffled his way over to us in his wheel chair. As I turned around and saw him I acted a bit startled.
"Don't worry miss. I'm harmless. But I am really hungry. Do you have anything?"
Caleb was quick to offer a granola bar but the gentleman showed us he had no teeth.
It wouldn't be that easy.
I asked him a few questions to make light talk as I rummaged through our groceries looking for something to give him.
Perhaps a banana would do.
I kind of just wanted to get home.
However, as I listened to this man my heart began to change.
He had been homeless for years.
He used to be a drug addict.
But he has been clean for years thanks to the good Lord.
He may be homeless and a diabetic but he sleeps like a baby every night because he isn't on drugs.
He has family up in Washington.
He begs for food because he needs to eat every few hours.
He is in a wheel chair because of an altercation with police when he was soliciting for food in a parking lot like this one.
He was thinking of going and sitting in the Walmart so he could go to jail and get a few hot meals.
Caleb and I invited him to McDonald's and we began to make our way over there.
"Can I push you?" I asked.
"No Mam. If you push me I'll get used to it and I need to be able to do it on my own."
When we were inside McDonald's we asked him what he would like to eat.
He said he couldn't read the menu.
He ordered from the pictures and we got him a small gift certificate for later.
We sat down to talk some more as we waited for the food.
He was so thankful.
Even more so though was I.
Thanksgiving was coming up and I asked him if he had anyone to spend it with.
He said he hadn't spent Thanksgiving with family in nearly twenty years.
"Can we get you a bus ticket up to Washington so you could be with family?"
His jaw dropped open that someone would offer such a gift.
Honestly, at first I didn't know where it came from.
The words just came out.
A bus ticket was such a small price to pay for this man to spend the holidays with his family.
We parted ways with the plan to meet up in the next few days.
He said this parking lot was his home and if we came back we would find him.
We came back two days later with home cooked meals, and the bus schedule. He would have to call ahead of time since he was in a wheel chair to make sure they had a handicap space available on the bus but we were assured that this would not be a problem.
We couldn't wait to see him off knowing that he would be with his family.
When we got there we drove up and down the rows of the parking lot. We asked another homeless man if he had seen him. We spent a good deal of time looking for him but to no avail.
We felt defeated.
We couldn't help someone we couldn't find.
We drove around in neighboring parking lots with no luck.
We eventually gave the hot food to another homeless man before leaving.
Two days later and again a week later I went back to that parking lot in hopes to reconnect with this man. Sadly, by this time I had already forgotten his name.
To this day we have not seen this man again, but he is not forgotten.
The reason I share this story is to tell you the blessing of being inconvenienced. I will be the first to admit that there are way more opportunities that I let pass me by compared to the ones that I act on. But for whatever reason, I took the time to participate in this story even if it didn't turn out the way I would have hoped. Offering him a bus ticket was my plan though... obviously not God's.
Still, I was blessed.
And I remind myself how little of my time and resources it actually took.
Today I got a letter in the mail from a blog reader.
It was totally unexpected and I was incredibly blessed. Her words of encouragement along with a picture and small donation towards our adoption made my day. Literally. Silly how something as simple as this could make all the difference, but it does. Her participation in our lives is a reminder to me that there are little opportunities everywhere we look to be the hands and feet of Christ. Thank you Mary.
I pray for this new year that I will be more receptive to being inconvenienced.
May I not be numb to those around me that God wants to touch through me.
I hope this for my children too.
Life is way too short to allow beautiful opportunities to be used by God to pass us by.
Again, Happy New Year.