I joined the university kids for The Lord’s Table sandwich run ministry downtown yesterday. It’s been a while since the last time I’ve spent a night directly in contact with the homeless.
Many of them were lying up against the office buildings. The images of cardboard shelters, tired looking faces, and dirty hands – against the backdrop of office cubicles and flat screen monitors lit by fluorescent lighting, burned in my mind. It is insanity that such a thin piece of glass divides the sanitized corporate world from the stained reality that surrounds it.
At least they have blinds. That way, office workers can get back to the task at hand when the lights and sights that invade cause any form of uneasiness.
The truth is that it’s supposed to rob us of our peace of mind. We are designed to naturally feel tormented in our gut when encountering other human beings in distress. Suffering has a face, and poverty has a name.
That night his name was Vince and I could feel in my bones that God had created him for so much more. I tried to be a voice of hope, but I knew that I was up against years of him having accepted his place in life. I’d like to think that as our team of four sat around him and let him speak his mind and listened to him, for a moment in time, he experienced validation as a human being, respect, and even love.
I find it fascinating how in this early career stage of life, it is often difficult scheduling a time to meet up with other busy friends. Yet with those on the streets, I left with a sense that I could count on them being there anytime I chose to visit. There’s something wrong with that, in more ways then one.