I have learnt to Mission when I am walking through Town. Head down, don’t look around, don’t look like a tourist.
The faces I pass very much a blur. Then again they are meant to be. I try my utmost to miss the long desperate stares of the homeless, the destitute, the beggars and the hopeless. This is not something I do with any kind of conscious thought. It is just the reality involved with moving around a city or town in the age and time we live.
Many of them with an out of control drug problem. Most of them with some serious mental illness issues. Too few of them completely harmless.
Today I passed a homeless soul early in the cold sunlight, wrapped in a blanket rocking back and forth.
I didn’t really register him. Or her. I don’t know. I Missioned.
Today I passed a vaguely homeless looking man, older, face lined.
Today, for some reason, I Missioned and then I stopped and turned around.
I registered the pipe, the satchel, the old but clean clothing. I realized that the older man was probably one of the many low income workers making their way to work. Or perhaps he was one of those folk that travel to Town and pass their day watching and walking before heading home.
Today, I saw something that profoundly touched me on a level that I don’t quite understand. Or perhaps I do. It reminded me of what it is to be Human.
It was the oddest thing that I have seen in so long that for a moment sound faded away into nothing and time slowed just a little.
Reaching out and in, this clearly poor but gentle gentleman laid his hand on the shoulder of the all too faceless beggar.
Said a few words.
Reached into his satchel and offered an orange.
And sat next to him.
I don’t think I have ever seen more of God than at that moment. When a stranger touched that filthy, forgotten, helpless, cold soul. When he touched the untouchable. When he reached out to someone I don’t even register on most days.
When all the compassion of one Soul reached out to another, and didn’t see filth, dirt, madness. He saw a Soul worthy of his time. His love.
Compassion, Love, Humanity, Empathy – it is all free. But so many of us find them an expense we are not willing to shoulder.
In reality, all we have in this world is the gift of human contact, sometimes in the midst of desperation.
I know I saw the gift of Grace today – in the face of a stranger.
It is perhaps the most important thing we come into this world with.
And I hope it is what I take out with me.
I think I saw God today.