We were out running around yesterday and had stopped at a Redbox to pick up a movie when I saw a young man who was homeless, wearing what looked like two pair of pants, one on top of the other. The second pair was faded, ripped, and so thin that you could hardly see much of the original pants. He had dreadlocks and there were leaves and debris covering the back of his head. The soles of his shoes no longer connected to his tops and flapped as he walked. He was headed for the trash can directly at an angle from where I was sitting in the car. He turned to see if anyone was looking and pulled out a pizza box. He opened it up and took out what looked to be a piece of the crust and pushed the box back into the can. As he walked away he kept turning around looking...Looking at me. I supposed to see if I was looking at him?
When my husband returned with the movie and we started on our way to the grocery, I suddenly was struck with the notion to go back to see if he was still there to give him some money. We didn't have much on us ( the use of debit cards have all but erased the idea of carrying cash) but I thought maybe he could use what little we had to purchase something to eat or drink. When we drove back around I saw him sitting on the edge of the curb drinking an orange crush with two packages of cheese crackers laying next to his drink. We stopped the car and I rolled down my window looking at him. His eyes were devoid of any expression...blank and lifeless and suddenly I was overcome with such sorrow and pain that I thought this must me how God feels when he looks into the eyes of one of his children who is suffering. I asked him to take the money for coffee or food but he shook his head no. After urging him to take it three times he looked at me, thanked me but said no. Not wanting to bother him any further we left.
I don't believe I have ever been so saddened by what I saw. His eyes still haunt me when I think of him. I keep asking myself why he refused the money? If, as most people think, that it is not a good idea to give homeless people money and if he was an addict of drugs or alcohol why didn't he accept the money? I still believe that, regardless of the circumstances that bring people to the streets, they still have some pride and dignity. That no one can feel the sense of failure, the desolation, or the hopelessness in their spirit.
I was trying to find a picture of the homeless to attach to this post but instead thought these words might be more fitting than a photo: " Homeless people are spirits sent from heaven to test our true character". So, the next time you see a homeless person seeking shelter, or looking for food in trash cans and you walk right past them without so much as a look ask yourself this: What makes me think that this couldn't be me?