|Homeless Vietnam Vet painting by jujuru of Pennsylvania, USA|
Last week I listened to a speech by a homeless man. He was asking for acknowledgment and respect from the general public. To look him in the eye as you walk by, smile, or take a moment and stop to ask how he is doing.
Yesterday as I waited for the light to change near a grocery store, I spied a sign at the edge of the road that read "Need a room for pregnant wife and baby." The young man holding the sign could have been my son's age and the baby my grandchild.
I motioned for him to come closer as I rolled my car window down. I asked for his story. He hadn't been out of the army long and was laid off from a local company (I knew the company well). He applied everywhere he possibly could for work. Their second baby on the way was not planned. As he tells his story a smile lights up his face, with eyes that are warm and grateful.
I wasn't able to help much, but gave him what cash I had and a few encouraging words as we parted. He thanked me for asking about him and his family and for my small donation.
What I came away with from that short meeting surprised me greatly. My son was also in the army and struggled when he came home. The company that laid this man off was also the employer of a family member. And I know unplanned pregnancies can happen so easily.
That stranger on the street is my brother, my dad, my son....or me.
This morning I opened a book of daily spiritual readings, to July 6th, yesterday, and this is an excerpt of what was written:
"...withhold not from the poor the gifts which the grace of God hath bestowed upon you."
And I wish I had a room to give away.