As we were getting the kids ready for bed this evening, I remembered that I was responsible
for bringing the class snack to school tomorrow.
Once they were tucked away, I pulled on my coat, grabbed my keys and headed to the store.
I got what I needed, as well as some goodies for ourselves, paid the bill and headed to my car.
Outside the door was an older man, holding a tattered cardboard sign asking for help.
"Oh, I'm sorry," I said immediately, "I don't have any cash."
"Oh that's ok, miss," he answered. "Don't worry!" and he gave me a smile.
I loaded my bags into the car and sat down, putting my keys in the ignition.
I looked at my bags filled with preschool snacks and coffee and fruit.
I looked outside at the slushy snow falling on my windshield and the man standing by the door.
I didn't have cash, that was true.
But I had groceries. And I was in a strip mall with five restaurants surrounding me.
This is who I've called you to care for: the poor, the hungry.
It was just a nudge. But the stirring was strong enough that I knew I couldn't ignore it.
There was absolutely no reason I couldn't help him.
I opened the door and got out.
His back was to me.
"Sir?" I called.
"Me?" he asked.
"Can I get you something hot to eat?"
He looked around. "Maybe some soup?" he asked. "Wonton soup. Is that something they have around here?"
"I think so. Just give me a minute, I'll be right back."
"I'll be here," he smiled again.
There was a Chinese restaurant across the parking lot with a drive thru.
I got soup, though they didn't have the kind he asked for. And something a bit more substantial.
I pulled the car back to the front of the store, got out and handed him the bag filled with warm food.
"You came back!" he said, still smiling.
"Yeah, of course," I smiled in return.
We exchanged goodbyes, and he thanked me.
I left, my heart aching. Aching because it's so cold, aching because I wanted to do more.
Aching for the loneliness and despair that is part of every day life on the streets.
I just finished a book called Under the Overpass.
It solidified in my heart the call to feed the poor, to care for the homeless,
to take the very little I can do and actually do it.
I drove home, praying for that man: for warmth. for hope.
for God's love to fill him up more than a little styrofoam container of soup ever could.