Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Sandwich

My first thought when I saw the man standing on the corner with the "homeless, every little bit helps" sign was "yeah, right. there's no way you're homeless, you're young and healthy looking." Then as I sat at the stoplight trying to look straight out the windshield and not at the man standing outside my car I realized it didn't matter. He looked sad and hopeless and whether or not he really needed help it was my place as a christian to help him if I was able. I looked around the front of the van. It has been my policy in the past to give food to people who ask for money on street corners, but never money. I didn't have any food. I had forgotten to pack N's lunch and had no snacks either. So, I figured I was in the clear. I didn't have to help him, because I didn't have any thing to give him. As I drove away to go get food for N's lunch, for him to eat on the ride from one day camp to another (long story) an idea popped into my head. Get him a sandwich too, and bring it back to him. I wasn't sure I'd have time for that and not be late for N, but I decided to play it by ear. If I forgot about it, or didn't have time I'd let myself off the hook. But, guess what? The lights were in my favor and no one else was in line at the drive through. So, I ordered the extra sandwich and headed back. I sat at the light waiting to turn onto the street he stood on and took a closer look at him while I waited for another green light. He was wearing tennis shoes, khaki shorts, a white tshirt, and a hat, like a newspaper boy would have worn. He had a water bottle and a stuffed red backpack at his feet. I began to judge him again. I think I may have been had. This guy doesn't look homeless to me. But, what do I know about homeslessness? I turned the corner and saw his face again, eyes downcast and shoulders sloped. I turned into the parking lot and turned that car around so I would be on his side of the road again. When I got back to the intersection the light was red and I pulled up next to him and rolled the window down.
"Are you hungry?" I asked.
His eyebrows raised and he nodded his head. "yeah."
I reached my hand towards him and handed him the sandwich. "Here you go."
"Thank you, I really appreciate it." He said looking in my eyes as he reached for the sandwich. His fingers touched mine as he took the package from me.
I mumbled something like "your welcome" as I pulled away and rolled up the window. I saw him fold up his sign, pick up his bag and water bottle and head away from the traffic to eat.
While I drove to pick up N, perfectly on time, I might add, I felt so spiritually full. I thought I was going to help this man, but he helped me.

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About Me

a SAHM living the good life in northern Illinois