My computer faces the window and every so often I gaze across South Pearl Street. Sometimes there are children running by, two people having a discussion, or George watering the flowers. But, this morning I noticed an older gentleman with shoulder length white hair and a cane, across the street. He offered his hand to a woman seated on the low brick wall with the iron fence as her back rest. She extended her hand and they shook. It caught my attention because it seemed liked they had just introduced themselves to each other. And I don’t remember seeing that courtesy extended outside my window. A little tableau was unfolding.
As I observed, he handed her a small package then sat down next to her. It wasn’t hurried or secretive. I continued watching and he produced another small baggie. She proceeded to extract tobacco and roll a cigarette with a small sheet of paper. What made it interesting too was that I could see the gentleman, but the lady was mostly hidden by the lamp post on the street. I could only see her arms and legs. He sat quietly.
After a few minutes, he pocketed the packages, rose from his seat, and waved his hand in farewell as he walked away. His moves could have been scripted. A bit later she was on her way as well.
She probably asked him for a cigarette…a frequent request among Mission visitors. His responses modeled dignity and a giving spirit. It made me think about sharing and taking time for the person God puts in my path.
Often, with many partners, the Mission staff and volunteers do this well. Serving meals, offering clothing, medical visits, shelter, recovery programs, counseling…building personal connections with men and women who are searching for dignity and genuine love. But I was glad for the picture outside.
It reminded me again to take time to shake a hand. See the person in front of me. Offer dignity with the love of Jesus. Share what I have. It brings glory to God and may begin a relationship that could be life-changing through the grace of Christ.
Director of Development