Sunday, January 22, 2017

On A Sunday

My Husband works on Sundays; we drive to church in separate cars and after the 8am service he leaves to go to work.  I stay and attend Sunday school, and then often treat myself to breakfast or lunch, just me.  Today as a chile relleno blessed me with its cheesy Mexican goodness, I saw a homeless man across the street.  He was pushing his grocery cart on the sidewalk, then turned into an empty lot adjacent to a vacant abandoned building.  We've had so much rain lately and cold weather (to a Californian that is), but today it's 55 degrees and the sun almost feels like Spring is on its way.  The man in a puffy coat and cap parked next to the sunny side of the building, rolled out his mat, then placed his sleeping bag over it.  I watched as he climbed in, and snuggled into it so deep he was no longer visible.  Just an overstuffed sleeping bag and a shopping cart against a neon yellow wall lit by a hot yellow sun.

I thought about my brother Gary, who'd spent many years homeless on the street.  Many years where we didn't know where he was or if he was even alive.  I decided when I was done with my lunch, I'd buy the nameless man breakfast, and some hot coffee.

"Yes, I'll take an egg McMuffin breakfast please with coffee."  "Yes, a large coffee."  "Um, two creams, two sugars."  I drove back to him, and as I got out of the car he didn't hear me, didn't look up.  I walked up and said "Good morning."  I called out again "Good morning."  No response.  I noticed a bit of his weathered calloused hand was poking out of his bag.  I lightly touched his hand.  He must have thought a fly landed on him; he peeked out of his cocoon to look at his hand and was startled someone was standing there.  I was startled too.  He looked like my brother, and just like him life on the street, ragged hair and beard, hid a handsome young man.  I thought about all the kind folks that helped my brother, bought him a meal, handed him a dollar or two, pitied him. They did not know his life had not always looked this way; that he was a son, a brother, at one time a Husband, and a father, and that he was loved and missed.  I wondered who was missing this young man laying on the side of a building before me.

"Good morning" I said.  "I've got some breakfast for you. And some hot coffee." He didn't know what to make of me, a lady still dripping in my Pastor's sermon this morning.  His hand reached for the hot coffee.  "Thank you."  "You're welcome" I said, "I'm sorry I woke you." "No, no, thank you" he said again.  He stared at me and blinked and squinted as if I wasn't real, but when his hand held the lawsuit hot McDonald's large coffee with 2 creams and 2 sugars, it was affirmation.  He smiled a feeble sad embarrassed smile at me.  I wondered if he had a sister somewhere who loved him and missed him.

I turned to go, walked back to my car, and as I drove the fifteen minutes home, I cried.  Maybe it was because I'm grateful for the gas in my car, a couple of dollars in my pocket, the warm purple sweater I wore to church this morning.  Maybe because I still get to wake up next to a man who pats my butt in his sleep.  Maybe because my brother no longer survives the mean streets; he doesn't have much but he's got a warm bed, food to eat, and a house to live in.  Maybe it's because this is the year I will celebrate seven years cancer free.  Maybe it was because God has been so good to me, has shown such mercy and favor towards me, even when I get it all wrong.  I kept thinking about the Bible verse in Matthew, "Did you feed me when I was hungry?"  This morning in the comfort of my booth and rice and beans in my tummy, it was as if God himself was repeatedly asking me the question.

Keep my eyes and heart fixed on you Lord.  Let me be a loving kind light in a dark world.  I am not worried about what the future will bring.  I know Who holds my future.

This morning, I just want to say thank you, thank you Father for this sacred ordinary life of mine.

and to you Dear Reader, thank you for listening, on a Sunday.

My brothers and me, Donny and Gary

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