As we explored the local library, our stomach’s began grumbling as it neared dinnertime.
The light was quickly disappearing and as we exited the majestic old building, I noticed a lone figure seated on a park bench outside.
His face weathered, his hair matted and his clothes were in tatters. He silently muttered in conversation to himself. At times the conversation with himself got quite heated and lively.
I walked quickly by with the family, wanting to get dinner for ourselves, to quiet complaining stomachs, to be in a “safer” place, away from unpredictability…a short stroll down the path and my mind was in conflict, my heart feeling grieved that I’d not drawn near to the opportunity to love one of God’s precious ones.
So I turned and made eye contact with the man. He was looking our way, chattering and smiling to himself. I caught his eye and we smiled at one another for a while. I then gave him a good arm wave to say hello.
I watched the impact of my minuscule (and chickenly) act – upon the lone figure…..how the man’s face came alive, how his body sat upright, chest puffed out instead of the hunch that was such a familiar posture to him. I saw his eyes lighten, his spirit come alive. I saw that the brief acknowledgment of one who few “see”…well..
…..how it had made his day.
I felt many emotions about this interaction. I felt I could have given so much more, I felt shame at my cowardice initially…..as I tossed these things around my heart and head…my family and I then headed off to find dinner. I suggested we buy the man a meal. Excitedly and carefully we chose a main, dessert and drink, thinking what he might enjoy, what might bless his body……it was a rich opportunity with the kids to try and bless a stranger…..a stranger who after purchasing the meal, we couldn’t find again. The moment was gone. The opportunity missed.
We spent the next hour searching the city for him….or anyone to bless…but there was no-one.
God’s fingerprint isn’t always about neat endings and victorious stories, but the daily churnings within…the prompts, the actions – sometimes it’s God putting up a mirror before us, as we see the reflections of our hearts… sometimes we’ll love what we see….other times…not so much.
It’s not what we see that’s important, it’s how we respond to what we see.