Cruse in' to work this afternoon I got off 270 at the Easton exit and approached Steltzer Rd. There are 2 left turn lanes there for traffic that wants to head south on Steltzer, that's what I have to do to get to work. I get in the curb lane generally because that's the path of least resistance if one is going to FedEx. It's about a quarter of a mile to Steltzer from 270...as I came off the ramp and onto Easton Pkwy aiming for the curb lane I saw "him"...ominous black clad figure holding cardboard sign. I reflexively jerked my vehicle toward the outer left turn lane so as to avoid "him". In a flash I remembered the aforementioned resonations...I whipped it back over for curb service. Thankfully the light was red and I was first in line and there he was 3 feet away. I engaged him visually even before I stopped as my window went down. His expression betrayed angst, shame, embarrassment...fear? I had to dignify and acknowledge him as a person who has worth because he "is". I just wanted to deposit that into him..."hey I see you". He may have been 30. Black trench coat with hoodie and a bookbag on his back...he was not really scuffed up and disheveled as though he had slept under a bridge. I spoke to him like I would anyone whom I might cross paths with on a sidewalk "hey man" with a smile. His sign said: SPARE CHANGE. I fervently scoured my between the seats cupholders and then went for my ashtray all the while trying to keep eye contact. I apologized and said I didn't think I had much in here. But somehow I had the sense that the amount didn't matter as much as the fact that I was acknowledging his personhood. He was smiling now. I came up with MAYBE 23 cents. I said "smoke"? "Sure" he replied sheepishly, but still smiling. I'm not quite sure how it happens but sometimes cigars find there way into my vehicle...I checked my stash...DANG! EMPTY! I apologized again..." I thought I might have a cigar in here". "That's ok " he said as the light turned green. He gave me a really sincere "thank you" and then said "God bless You". "You too"! I called as I rolled away and checked the rearview to see the lady behind me hand him some change as well. The whole thing lasted like 35 seconds. I chastised myself immediately: you didn't ask him his name! Oops! But that thought soon faded.
I was keenly aware that the encounter had been "life giving" for both he and I. My heart was glowing! I felt like I had given the guy $100!!! I was so high I texted Jesse just because I had to tell somebody.
I ask God to use me to push His Kingdom forward about everyday. Most nights as I lay the carcass down to recharge I'm hard-pressed to recall anything from the day that might fill that bill. Tonight I've no doubt.
The "life" flowed because I had treated someone the way I would want to be treated if I was in their shoes.
I want to thank Angela and Tracy for sharing the video. That clip where the homeless guy spoke about being acknowledged really opened me up and gave me a strategy to arm myself with. Before I alway wrestled with the "what if this or what if that" stuff and because I was trying to figure those things out on the spur of the moment I would "miss" the moment of opportunity. I didn't have any of that today, I didn't care about that stuff. I just wanted to impart some dignity if I could.
It was soooooo cool!
love to all