There is a homeless guy who pan handles on the corner of Dowling and the exit ramp off of 94. I see him regularly as I drive to Dani’s house. It was about a year ago that I began bringing food or small bills to give to him when I was making a trek across the cities to Danielle’s house and last New Year’s Rachel and I deepened this relationship by bringing soup, coffee, snacks, and blankets to this man and his friends as they stood out in the cold. But it wasn’t until after I heard an Upper Room sermon about Stefan and his heart for the homeless that I realized that I didn’t even know the man’s name who I had been bringing food to and praying for. So about 2 months ago as I handed him a bottle of water and a little cash I asked him his name. He replied after a surprised pause, “Michael”. Then proceeded to ask me my name. A week or so later I was driving by and handed him an apple and apologized for not having any cash that day and he said ” no problem, Lindsey”….I was amazed that he remembered my name…a few weeks later I was driving out to Dani’s house with my mom on the way to the Baptism and I realized halfway there that in the confusion of getting all the stuff ready for the baptism I hadn’t remembered to pack anything for Michael or his friends who work that corner. As we arrived on the corner we handed him a small rice crispy square (the best food on earth) and a warm can of 7up and $5 with a warm “Sorry it isn’t much today Michael”…his reply “thanks Lindsey”.
I pray for Michael and his friends…that when I arrive on that corner with something to hand them that they won’t be there because they’ve found a place to stay and a job that gives them a sense of pride…I hand them food that I have laying around my great apartment, but rarely do I approach the corner ready to ask Michael what he’d like…this week I wanted to change that…I wanted to really show them love by not doing what was easy for me or what made me feel like I was helping…but instead give them the opportunity to share what they need and want.
yesterday i was driving by prepared to tell Michael to hop in the car and I’d let him pick the place he wanted to eat dinner…ask him what I could really do for him… But as I approached the corner…he wasn’t there. I drove around the block to the place his friends gather but there wasn’t anyone there. I hope that his absence was because the prayers for him and his friends were answered and i hope that my change of heart doesn’t fade…I want to be a person who’s first instinct is to listen and respond in love not just do what I think is love.