The next day Eliana’s allergies had gotten to her enough that I was willing to go and pick up some Claritin for children as my doctor had suggested. The Walgreens near us tends to have homeless people around it. I’m not sure why since many of the other stores around there don’t. There have been probably close to a dozen times that Kyle or I have been asked for some spare change at that Walgreens. We have chosen to not give money in most instances. We’d rather buy food. Sonic is right next door. It isn’t super healthy by any means, but if you’re hungry it would be good in the belly.
Being a mom has made me hypersensitive to those around Eliana. I find having an infant makes me more vulnerable than already being a young female who doesn’t have a black belt in karate. Plus, Kyle took a self defense class last year that made me even more sensitive/fearful of possible harmful situations.
With all of that being said, picture me sitting in the back seat with the door open as I am lifting Eliana into her car seat. A man in his 40s with a semi nice red shirt and baggy pants, weathered skin, and sounding as though he might be missing a tooth or two stands from the sidewalk and asks me if I have any change. Even though I’m often fearful, I wasn’t at that time. Cautious? Oh yes, but not fearful. I told him that I wouldn’t give him change, but that I’d buy him something at Sonic. He said okay. With Eliana on my hip, I started walking up to the sidewalk and made a left so that I’d be walking in front of the building, which is also on the busy street side with other customers parking regularly. The man had started walking to the back of the building, but I wasn’t going to walk that way. When there was about 20 feet between us, I think he realized I wasn’t following him and he said, “Oh, are you going that way?” I also at that time realized he wasn’t following me, turned, told him yes and continued walking. He changed directions and followed me. As we walked I asked him what he’d like to eat. He said a cup of coffee. I thought it was odd to want just coffee at 3 in the afternoon on a gloriously beautiful day, but figured I couldn’t force him to eat food. I offered again to buy a meal, and he said, “No thanks. I have some chocolate bars.” I asked if Sonic even sold coffee. He wasn’t sure, but figured we’d find out. We took a few more steps and he said, “You know, what I could really use is some cigarettes.”
Me, the girl who has a grandfather with emphysema and coughs at the smell of smoke, kept walking and said, “Well, I won’t be buying that for you.”
As it turns out, Sonic has 3 kinds of coffee. There are two fancy drinks and some regular brewed coffee. While ordering:
Me: “Would you like a small or large?”
Me: To the intercom, “May I have a large coffee please?” To him, “Cream?”
Me: “A cream please.”
Him: “Two.” I chuckled to myself at his specification of two.
Me: To the intercom, “Make that two creams please.”
Him: “Oh, and some sugar.”
Me: “May we have a sugar too?”
Me: “May we have three sugars?” Another smile to myself. I guess everyone is entitled to have a preference when it comes to coffee.
I sat down at the table and he followed suit by sitting across from me. He asked how old Eliana was. I told him nine months and asked if he had any kids. He has a daughter, but her mom moved away. He doesn’t get to see her often.
Then there was a lull as we waited for the coffee. I thought, “Well, I could ask him if he knows Jesus.” But did I? No. I chose to sit there in silence and miss an opportunity. The coffee came. I told him I hoped he enjoyed it and left.
John 3:17 and 18 says, “17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Did I show God’s love by spending a little money to buy a man coffee? Yes. Did I love him with truth, God’s truth? No. Did I step out of my comfort zone? Yes. Was I whole heartedly obedient to God as He stirred my heart? No. What did I have to lose? I didn’t know the man. I still don’t even know his name.
On the flip side of all of this, last week I did give a homeless man some strawberries and a Bible that I happen to find in my glove compartment just the week before. It probably would have helped to say something, but at least he has the Word now.