I suddenly felt out of place standing over him….displaying a superiority that I didn’t intend….
When he had called out to me, strutting past in my heels, asking if I could spare some change for a “sexy homeless man”, something made me stop.
Taking in his shabby clothes and young but aged face I considered dropping a 2 dollar coin into the dirty hat to make a gold
quartet, but I simply said “why are you homeless?”
And although his position hardly granted him the right to care that I asked, I felt compelled to add “if you don’t mind me asking…”
He didn’t, as it turned out
For half an hour painful tears and raucous laughter alternated as he confided stories of a painful childhood….why he couldn’t find a job…how “love” is what’s needed to save the world….how he walked all day once, just to get away from how bad his feelings were, why he didn’t belong at the halfway house (full of druggies and alcoholics)…how his heart was so full….insensitive parents who just didn’t “get him”….judgement from society….and he also told me about his psychic abilities…..
“I help strangers who stop to talk to me. I know they are sad and I ask them why. They can’t believe I know…that I feel their pain….I tell them how to fix it and they think I’m God”
I realised then, that I was still standing there, on the sidewalk…looking down on him, while others stared and I suddenly felt out of place.
So I crouched down beside him, asked him his name, and gave him mine. I don’t know whose hand came out first, but they met in the middle.
In the space between us that was neither mine nor his.
He grasped my hand and it lasted longer than I expected, longer than it should have felt comfortable…yet it felt absolutely necessary.
I told him he was destined for much more than this. That his heart was indeed full, and he needed to shine his light on the world.
He told me to stay beautiful….
* * *
I returned home at the end of the day, to a hot shower and a bowl of pasta, glass of red wine and my favourite tv shows on the big screen tv….
As I lay in bed, soft pillow under my weary head, the loving weight of my husbands arm across my body, I couldn’t help but think about all those homeless people…somewhere out there….trying to keep warm, hungry perhaps…afraid, lost, frustrated by their struggle and, most certainly, all alone.
And I wondered where God was tonight….