Since we moved to California, I have been even more aware of the issue of homelessness, because frankly, on every corner, I am seeing it. It's more prevalent here than it was in our former home state of South Carolina. Even though we live in a little suburban area well outside of the city of San Francisco, I see it. Every day.
The problem with seeing it every day is that you start to get used to it. It is sad but true. In the first days when we moved here, I was stopped in my tracks by seeing a person sleeping in the doorway of my local bank. Five months later, I notice, but I am not quite as frozen in place with each sighting.
Please take a few moments to read this piece posted by Julianna Morlet this morning. A friend of mine shared this on Facebook, and her comments on the post made me click through and read. I was moved to tears.
I struggle a great deal with faith, religion and how some people judge or hurt others in the name faith. But this post and these words are the best example of "walking the walk" of being a compassionate human being, and remembering to give, listen, and pay attention...to everyone.
This is a reminder to all of us that those struggling with homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and other tragic circumstances that take control of their lives are someone's child, someone's sibling, someone's parent...someone's connection to another life. Thank you Julianna Morlet for writing this, and to my friend Lori for sharing this today.
(I am sharing her post in its entirety here, as I don't want you to miss a word)
Who Can You Give Your Bagel?
by Julianna Morlet
"Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor." Proverbs 22:9 (ESV)
I woke up at 5 a.m., hit my snooze button, dragged myself out of my warm sheets and started my normal-every-Tuesday-morning-routine. I drove to Starbucks, swapped the typical weather jokes with my favorite barista, ordered my grande coffee and bagel, and walked out the glass door.
What wasn't routine was the scraggly teenage boy I ran into on my way to my truck. He was asking for something. Though I didn't clearly hear him, I assumed it was money.
I told him I was sorry but I didn't have any, and continued on.
He didn't ask again and he didn't pester me. But something in my head did. Did he ask for money or food?
Quickly, I spun around and asked, "Do you need food?" His reply was so innocent and affirmative. I held out my goodie bag. "Here ya go, a toasted bagel with cream cheese made just for you." He smiled so big, I thought his lip ring was gonna pop out.
I didn't think anything of it until I got in the truck and started pulling away. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the boy peeling open the cream cheese, carefully and joyfully, like it was Christmas morning.
On my drive to the office, I wept like a broken-hearted mother.
I didn't know this boy. Had no idea what kind of trouble or circumstances got him to the streets, but I did know he was someone's son. And if my son were out on the streets, asking for food at 6:30 in the morning, I'd want that busy-looking girl to stop and give him her bagel.
Almost a month later, my mother forwarded me an email she had received from a woman in her Bible study. It read:
"Hi Alma, Viola told me she read Julianna's blog which talked about giving a hungry teenage boy her bagel. Viola wondered if it was my son Kyle because of the lip ring Julianna mentioned. I was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude for her compassion. He was hungry and she gave him something to eat. I have attached a picture of Kyle to show Julianna to see if he is the one she fed that morning. If not, I know there is another mother out there that would be very grateful for her compassion if she knew."
I scrolled down to see the face of the boy and gasped as my eyes instantly filled with tears. It was him! The boy had a name and it was Kyle. But more than that, he had a mother. And now she knew someone had taken care of her son, even if it was just a small meal.
We are not all called to mission fields far away. We are not all called to pastor a church or lead a women's Bible study. However there is one thing we are all called to do as God's people: we're all called to stop, to be aware of the hurting around us, and to have compassion. We are called to share our bread with the poor.
The Lord asks us to care. He calls us to be on the lookout for those who need our time and kindness. And yes, our bagel and cream cheese too.
Check out the video of Julianna interviewing Kyle's mom:
To read the original post, click here.
Click here to go to Julianna's personal blog.