David, is the homeless man in the neighborhood, somedays I give a cup of coffee to. I acknowledge his presence and make it known to him by saying ‘Hi David’, in those days he’s around. To me -more so to God in me-David is a human being of equal importance to you and I. Few days ago, after past weeks of small interactions, on my way to one of my photography walks, I walked into him again. He was slumped over in a new spot.
‘I got kicked out of my regular spot. I don’t know why? I never create problems, I clean after myself, I leave before 8am, before the kids come, so I don’t cause problems. I had such a good day yesterday (Easter), but today I woke up to that.” He was clearly hurt- yet another rejection in his life- but remained calm and composed, maybe out of respect for my presence or due to his character, either reasons are based on my speculations.
‘Once I’m done with my walk, I’ll bring you some coffee.” He thanked me, as usual, numerous times. ‘It’s a small thing.’
‘It’s not to me.’
‘Okay David. You’re very welcome.’
Once I brought him the coffee cup, ‘brightening his day’ as he put it I turned around to leave, but one thought kept me in place. Talk to him. So I did. Standing back, a safe distance back, brought on by life’s previous experiences that chipping away at my faith in humanity, a loss I don’t feel the need to apologize for, I asked him what bought him in the state of homelessness.
“If you don’t want to let me know, no big deal David, I just see a lot of pain in your eyes, which made me wonder what happened? I know pain too.” I shared with him the freshest pain and challenges I was going through, details only Chet knows about them, and now David. We began talking, a talk that lasted a good hour. I found out his story, sad, not unusual, but sad none- the- less. The entire time, I continued to see David not one ounce less important than the rest of us. There was no difference in his value as a human being from that of a CEO or the most famous person. I felt inside my chest the importance of love towards all humanity, even broken one, like David and I knew instantly it wasn’t me, as much as it was God showing me that truth, again. People matter. All people matter. Period.
Now, there is the other aspect of the spectrum- the consequences we all encounter due to our actions, actions followed by responsibilities towards ourselves and others within the society. That was also very clear to me. But what I understood without a shadow of doubt was this; I felt God’s love reaching out to David, encouraging him and reminding him of his truest value in God’s eyes, but I sensed God’s hands tied up by a rope called ‘our choices’ intertwined by ‘our responsibilities’ over those choices keeping God at bay. We are the ones keeping God at bay, his hands tied up due to our free choices, not the other way around. Not at all the other way around. Like a parent that lost a son, God’s heart was crying over David with such sorrow it choked my heart. And that’s when I understood something; the church over the past decades failed to express that. To some degree, it still does.
He was not a judging God, full of vengeance and hate towards anyone that didn’t agree with a particular denomination or specific religious detail, he was a father, hurt and separated from his children, because the children tied his hands and kept him at bay with one tool, called ‘choice’.
Yes, the post is long today, but I had to share this with you, because of its importance. I do hope in doing so it strengthened you as well, or at least gives us something to think about.