I struggle with it sometimes. Due to preconceived notions I have about people, and social situations, sometimes I might not show kindness to those I distrust or perceive I would dislike. I wish I didn’t act this way, but our pasts make us who we are. It also has to do with the person I used to be. I was always kind, I went out of my way to do things for others all the time. I was the person who offered my help and kindness at the drop of a hat. I often ended up broke and over worked, tired and spent. I also noticed that in my time of need, no one was there to support or offer help to me. It ends up leaving a bad taste in your mouth.
I soon ended up feeling used. And that should never have been my focus in the situations I was in. The giving should be the focus, not the thanks or gratitude or reciprocation of my giving. But it’s hard to always be giving, and feel you are never getting in return.
I am trying to change that.
There is a grocery store close to my home. It is off a highway and things are starting to be built up around it. In the last few years I have noticed a homeless looking man loitering around the businesses and grocery store. A lot of people say he is their “boyfriend”. As a joke on themselves. But on one such occasion someone took offense at him being used as the joke. Sure, he was never in the know about these jokes, but none the less, he was the butt of them.
I have always wondered where he stays. How he survives and what he does all day. As the weather is turning I have wondered how he can stay warm. One night I was driving to pick up Diva Girl from a friend’s house. It was late, I was driving by myself. I noticed I desperately needed gas, so I stopped at the grocery store, which has a gas station. Deserted parking lot, close to midnight, but I was in familiar territory, good part of town. As I pumped gas I noticed a movement in the corner of my eye. It was the homeless guy. I was instantly scared and nervous. What if he tried to attack. me?
Now, this guy has never spoken to me in passing, never done anything to display violent tendencies, nor have I heard anyone say he is a problem. But I made sure to watch him until I felt “danger” had passed. As I reflected on this incident I felt ashamed that I had judged him. Even though I know being aware of surroundings and people is the right thing to do, I felt bad that I hadn’t trusted myself, him, or God.
And I started to wonder how I could show him kindness, instead of ignoring him, or fearing him. I have heard about people who pack a baggie with food stuffs and bottle water to have for when the opportunity to help a homeless person arises. So I packed snacks and a water bottle in a baggie. I also had a large fleece pullover that I thought could come in handy for his needs. And I put it in my car. And waited to see him again. But, I never saw him.
Today we stopped at the store to pick up items to make a dessert for a family get together. As I walked to the check out, there he was. I asked him if needed lunch. He mumbled something. I told him to follow me to the deli. He picked out some items. As we stood there waiting for the food it was hard to have a conversation. You have to wonder what happened to this man’s life. What caused him to withdraw into the life of a homeless person. One thing the man said that I did understand was when he asked if I had just come from church. How glad I am that I could say yes.
In church this morning I asked God to speak to me through the pastor. And boy did he. The teachings were on how we need to look at other’s through God’s eyes. How we must open ourselves up to understand where other’s are coming from. I don’t know that I could understand this man’s situation. I have been so blessed by God that I have never experienced anything like his existence. But I could look at him with God’s eyes and see he has value to God. Jesus came to this world to save me. And to save this man. I am no more deserving or valuable than this soul.
There are so many times I do not show Christ through my actions. How I hope today I might have shown just a glimmer. And maybe I can get back to being a nice person again.