I may look a little too long. Stare sometimes. Please know I’m not trying to judge. I’m a noticer–some people have told me. I want to know your story and to be perfectly honest, the arrow of my stare is not aimed at you–it’s centered at my heart–right back aimed straight at me.
He wore a hat, his face covered by a beard. His hair long and he sat on the pavement watching the cars pass by. He saw me with his eyes and I saw him. His head turned, watching as I drove by. What did he think of me?
Another man, younger–maybe early 30’s or so. His clothes clean and he was carrying the weight of his belongings around his waist…in one bag. Me, stopped at a red light and he walked in front of my car. His eyes met mine and he looked away–quickly. Why are you carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, on your back, on your face, in your eyes? Why and how can I help?
I have seen you before. Walking. And this morning, there you were again but this time you were standing by the railroad tracks ever so still watching the boxcars go speeding by. Why are you in such deep thought on this chilled morning? Is your story in one of those cars? What are your needs? Will you allow someone to help? Do you know Jesus?
I read somewhere that a broken heart has to expand to hold the hurt or it will truly break. And I believe this is true. Because on this day the hurt from my heart ran down my cheeks. The overflow poured like rain from an old house with leaky gutters.
The hurt came from the need of others. The ministry of presence.
My four hour shift has ended. Now what? Do I wipe away any evidence of wet from my face, walk away and forget? Do I forget what my eyes saw, what my ears heard? But six days will pass before I return again. What happens to the overflow? Will it heal quickly in my own comfort? Where will my heart be during those 144 hours?
Will I be burdened enough to pray for the lady and her family whose house flooded and she had to use her grocery budget to pay for the repair bill?
Will I even give a second thought to pray for the woman who faces surgery to remove the cancerous tumors in her stomach?
Will I seek donations of clothing for the man who lives in a tent on the coldest of nights in winter and the hottest days of summers?
Will I be burdened enough to pray for the woman who just wanted baby wipes for her baby? That’s all she needed….baby wipes.
And the family who accepted help for their utility bill but were too proud to accept food even though their faces screamed need. Will they cross my cluttered and busy mind, even once?
Will the hurt and the struggles of others burden my heart enough to tell others about the ministry and their needs?
Tell me God, please. Do I seal my heart tight, again…this broken heart?
Neichelle Guidry recently shared this at The Justice Conference, “If you are going to seek the kingdom of God—you must overcome your addiction to comfort.”
And a few days after serving at the ministry I heard a Christian writer speak these words. She said, ‘I don’t want to stand before Jesus one day knowing I could have done something and I let fear or my choice to remain silent be my excuse.’
The school social worker said she had only a few left. And she handed me these strips of paper. Children’s names. Not filled with wants, basic needs rather and a few wishes. And she said, these are the ones no one has chosen.
The season of thankfulness and giving is coming. Our tables will be full, ribbons and bows and lights and sales will be in abundance and the broken will remain broken and we can do more.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Matthew 25:40