"Thanks for being a friend."
- Those words opened my eyes to see a homeless man in a new light.
Sometimes I don't know how to react to homeless people asking me for money. I don't feel comfortable giving out money (and usually don't have it to give) but I also really do hurt for the person begging on the street. So many times, I just try to create distance and avoid looking them in the eye, because then I would not have to deal with the guilt of not helping them out.
I made the decision that today was going to be different. Because of some things going on in my life right now, I knew that today had the potential to be a very difficult day. So last night, I decided that I was going to move in the opposite of my own feelings and the circumstances in my life. I was going to take my eyes off myself and do something for others. I went to Target and got a couple of loaves of bread and some peanut butter to make sandwiches. I bagged them up and packed them ready to hand out to some people on the streets. In the midst of circumstances that could possibly leave me dreading the day ahead, I actually had something to look forward to and I was excited to start the day.
When I left work I walked towards the Metro and stopped to hand out food to others that appeared to need it. I met a man who could not take the food I offered because he could not eat peanut butter, but I stood there for a moment and listened to him tell me some things about his life. When I was leaving, his words to me were, "Thanks for being a friend." All I did was stand there and listen. He did not even take the food I had to offer, but he had a great appreciation for the moment that I took to listen to him. The bottom line is, people matter. I may not always have money to drop in a cup, but I can surely smile and possibly even pause for just a moment to say hi.
I continued on my way, with joy in my heart as I had the opportunity to hand out peanut butter and honey sandwiches packaged in plastic bags. As I made my way to the Metro station, tears began to well up in my eyes, not because of all the things going on in my own life, but because I had just given two men in the park some food. I had just had the opportunity to tell them, "I give this food to you in the name of Jesus because He loves you and He cares for you." Just a very brief encounter to let them know that they matter.
If you are going through a hard time, I strongly recommend going out and doing something for someone else. It really is a perspective changer and in the end you will probably find that you have been more blessed than those who you were seeking to bless :-) Be love in the world and look at every person as if they matter - because they do...we all do.