I sit here drinking my morning coffee, indulging in the essence of the steamy brew that awakens me every morning and I take for granted. I wonder why each morning it is so easy for me to forget how other people, human beings like me, are wishing so hard for a warm cup of coffee, yet they don’t even have a simple coffee pot to brew in or even a warm home. Have I become so calloused, like everyone else, that while being in the moment of a new morning I forget to be thankful?
There are people that live their lives daily in the street. They go to the corners of our world every morning holding cardboard signs of helplessness, yet we pass them by. People just like ourselves that may have come from warm homes, warm clothes and now they find their selves wandering and asking people like us for help, and yet we pass them by. I watch the streets as they come quietly from the night with only a small backpack of belongings, yet their world is filled with hope as they carry on about their day. A simple coin or dollar can help bring their gratitude to a new level, yet we become distraught if we can’t even buy a new pair of shoes because our dishwasher broke. These people from our streets may have never had new shoes, and yet they are happy to just receive a smile from a passerby.
I met a woman who had lived in her home for twenty years, unaware that one day she too would become homeless and have to live in a shelter. She wasn’t angry, or even discouraged, she was just simply trying to make it to the next day. We are all trying to make it to the next day, yet some of us are so caught up in the trap of being needy, needy for every materialistic thing in life, that if we were to go on the street to live, would we survive for a minute in time? I took this woman some food in a sack, and I could have been giving her the world. She was so grateful, so full of faith and hope that her pool of loving kindness spilled into my pool of wonder, and I too became grateful for all I had.
We take for granted the small things in life, the simple gestures of another human being spreading their love daily, and we don’t even see. Someone who has gone to the abyss and back, yet they are in survival mode and they still take everyone’s love and carry it forward. As I watch a man head to the corner of my world, I wonder what he really carries in his backpack. Coat, clothes, a torn, worn out pair of shoes, could this be all he has to his name? Or does he carry hope, gratitude and mercy that God has bestowed on him to carry him forward? This man carried a sign that read “Homeless, just a simple job is good for me”. Simple, to him means washing dishes, sweeping floor or anything that someone else believes is below them so far, they wouldn’t, couldn’t do it if their life depended on it. Yet, this man living in a tent behind my city is willing to do anything, just to get himself to a better mountain in life. He’s trying to crawl out of the hole, and all it will take is a simple gesture of kindness to bring him up to the next level in his journey. Every morning this man waves and smiles at all the passing cars. He sits and waits for someone to help pull him out of his misery, and yet he still smiles. I pull up in my car one day, and give this man a sandwich. He looks at me with tears in his eyes and blesses me for caring. I tell him to look up. I tell him “God has you”, and he smiles. Then, with the determination of a rock climber only minutes from the top of the mountain, this man looks at me and says, “God has had me and always will”. And here he is, homeless on a street corner, yet God has his back. And the gratefulness of this man’s world washes into mine, and I become almost sorrowful for all I have and have been given. It changes my thinking and makes me wonder how I can help? I want to become a more caring human being that no longer just drives on by.
I get involved in a local organization that is rallying for Human Trafficking, Rescue Innocence, and they have a benevolence program that helps the homeless and people that have lost their jobs, or been homeless for a while and are trying to survive. I begin helping by finding food, shelter and clothing to bring these people back to “Eden”, back to a better way of life. Even if it is just calling a store and asking for a donation, or finding tents and backpacks to give out, I’m trying to make my mark on this world. I desperately want to be in the streets, changing lives, because I too have stories to share, yet I find myself caught up in the trap that someone else can do the leg work, I’ll just stay inside where its warm and be safe. I can make a difference by simply making a plate of brownies that the “Street Warriors” in this local organization have become. Weekly the Street Warriors trek into the streets, checking every corner of my world trying to find a helpless, worn out soul that they can simply minister to and listen. All of these homeless people have stories to tell, they too were once just like us, waking up to warm coffee every morning. Yet, they find their selves in survival mode now, trying to get to the next day and beyond by simply existing in an unloving world. Yet they still love, they are still grateful and offer nothing but love and gratitude to mankind. These people never lose hope.
I hope that sometime soon, I will gain the passion and desire to walk the streets handing out Sacks of Hope containing nothing more than a sandwich, brownie and a simple card that says “You are Worthy”. For right now, my task at hand is to help the Street Warriors keep going, by phoning local organizations for donations which allows this ministry to continue.
If you are in your car driving by a homeless person with a cardboard sign, you could be missing the most moving moment in your life. You could be missing the moment to change everything as you know it. You could be missing the moment to change the world. Get involved in helping, even if you can’t be a Street Warrior, there are other things that you can do, by simply being the eyes and ears of getting a sack of food to someone in need. We could all fall down in a simple second, and turn around and hope that there would be someone there to pull us out, but if we don’t engage and show others how to pay it forward, our moment of “looking up” and having Christ in our heart will go in vain.