To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless…1 Corinthians 4:11
Currently I am without transportation. I have 3 cars in working condition but I cannot drive them. I stopped responding to medication, so I’m trying new ones. As I experience the vicissitudes of a new medication, I stay away from the steering wheel. It’s not convenient, but it is certainly bearable.
This is my 3rd time as a pastor / church staff where I’ve been in this situation. During those times I’ve relied on public transportation, walking and the generosity of others. Sometimes when I’m waiting for transportation, I sit in restaurants and libraries. Still, it would be ridiculous to say that I have experienced the world from the perspective of the poor.
Today I’m sitting in the public library, waiting for my ride. My congregation is hosting Safe Nights, a ministry that provides winter protection for Calvert County’s homeless by offering shelter, breakfast, dinner and a bag lunch, all served by loving people. I’m noticing that some of our guests are at the library. One of them recognizes me and jokes, “Welcome to my office.” I suspect some of them will remain at the library until they are transported back to my church.
I look at the people sitting around me. Judging by their appearance I wonder, “How many of these people are homeless?”
In the restroom I look in the mirror. Today is my “day-off,” but I’m still surprised at my appearance. I would not look like this at a church meeting or event. I’m unshaven. My wool cap has lint all over it. My black coat is dirty and has dog hair all over it (my wife fosters dogs who shed nonstop). I’m wearing faded, dirty jeans. My shoes are older than two of my children (Rockports last a lifetime).
I am carrying a faded gray drawstring bag, which contains dandelion tea bags, my remaining lunch and an ipad. I intend to share the tea with our Safe Nights guests who are trying to avoid coffee. I reach for my ipad, but the tea bags, a partially eaten sandwich and an unopened bag of chips spill on the floor. I quickly stuff them back into the bag.
I’ve settled into my chair to review tomorrow’s sermon. I stop and wonder if anyone around me has noticed me. Is anyone thinking, “I wonder if that guy is homeless?”