“I am here. I am homeless. I am hungry.”
Scribbled on ripped piece of cardboard, this man stood holding this sign. Cars whizzed by and silently I was praying that I didn’t catch the red light forcing me to stop next to him. To have him see me see him and do nothing. 1. 2. 3 cars made the light. I was number 4. Stopped right next to this man begging to be seen.
I don’t carry cash and honestly have always been a bit hesitant to give people cash anyway. “They’re just going to use it for drugs” people have repeated that refrain almost until you can’t bear to hear it anymore. Who knows? Maybe they will use it for their next hit, maybe my cash will just perpetuate the problem, but is that really my call to make?
I have been called to feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Take in the orphan. Those are the calls on my life. And I don’t get to make the rules. I don’t get to debate technicalities. That isn’t my luxury. The call on my life is clear. And final.
The cross traffic slowed, signaling that my light was about to change. I was almost free of this inner turmoil. It was almost my turn to drive past this man and refuse to see.
I couldn’t shut my eyes any more. In an act of defiance against my flesh I rolled the window down. Choosing to see. Choosing to see his brokenness. Choosing to see his hurt. Choosing to see his need. And even if just for a brief moment choosing to enter into that brokenness with him.
“Excuse me, sir…”
Choosing to place value on his life. Choosing to let him know that I see him.
“I don’t have any cash, but I do have this granola bar…”
Reaching my hand out the window, the small exchange brought tears to his eyes. Eyes that many people probably look at but never see.
“Thank you so much…I never wanted your money in the first place. I am just so hungry.”
The light changed to a bright green and if it weren’t for the cars piled up behind me I would have stayed in this moment…choosing to see. I’m not too terribly great at loving people well. But I am praying that in this short moment, on the side of the highway, a granola bar reminded this man that people still see.
That I still see.