Erin & I just went shopping for a few groceries. It’s raining, so I was looking for a parking spot close to the store. I noticed an older man holding up a sign: “hungry, need help”.
In front of our neighborhood Lucky grocery store? We live in middle-class suburbia, a place designed for comfort. This man was an uncomfortable reminder that the world is not all like this.
I parked the car, and we ran through the rain. The man had moved out of the rain to the sheltered area at the entrance to the store. I went about fetching a cart, not sure what to do, not sure what to feel, trying to fool myself into thinking that I didn’t notice him. But 10-year-old Erin, bless her heart, said, “Did you see that man holding the ‘hungry’ sign? I feel sorry in my heart for him.”
So we did our shopping, keeping our eyes open for anything that might help get him. As we shopped, Erin said, “I saw another homeless man not too long ago. As I was going to bed, I prayed for him quietly in my heart.”
We picked up snack bars and orange juice, along with the rest of our shopping. We put the snack and juice into a separate bag along with a $10 bill. And we walked out of the store.
He was gone.
We looked around, but couldn’t find him. Was he kicked off the premises? Where did he go in the rain? We walked in the rain. We searched by car.
I asked Erin what we could learn from this experience.
She said, “That we have a lot more than many people.”
I said, “I wish I hadn’t been afraid to talk to him at first. I could have asked him how we could help. We could have taken him shopping, or if that was too uncomfortable, we could at least have told him, ‘Wait here, we’ll be right back.'”
When we got home, I wanted to do something to help us remember this as a God moment. So we had communion, just the two of us, using the food we had hoped he would eat.
“The body of Christ, broken for you and for that man” — a Quaker Baked Apple Crisp Bar
“The blood of Christ, shed for you and for that man” — Sunnyside Farms Original 100% Pure Orange Juice