It was last week. I remember it well. I’d seen many others like him. Sometimes I felt the prompting but other times I didn’t.
This day was different. My children were in the car. We were probably twelve cars back from him and the questions had already started. What should I say? How do I explain this in a gentle manner?
His clothing was tattered and dirty, his beard was unkempt. He seemed older than me but it was hard to tell. The questions continued. ‘Why is there a man standing there? What is he doing on the side of the road?’
The anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach grew stronger with every inch we moved closer to him. I started to reach for my pocket but the light stayed green longer than expected. To avoid the questions from a five year old and not wanting to stop traffic I drive on to our planned destination.
The guilt grew and grew the further down the road we drove. I started questioning Him. My husband’s company closed down. He’s back in school full time. Money is tight. We have two kids. We need to be smarter than this.
The nudging continued. We’d completed our errand and headed back.
There he was. Still standing on the side of the road between the off ramp I’d come from and the on ramp I needed to head back. The questions had to be answered because there were more questions this time. I explained to my oldest that the man was standing on the side of the road because he’s homeless.
I’d said the word. Homeless. Home…less. Without a home. Without a bed. Without a bathroom.
I’ve always tried to protect them both. I didn’t want to explain homeless to my kids. I didn’t want to create the thought in his head that it’s possible to lose our house. I want him to be a kid not needing to worry about these kinds of things. He’s always asking deep questions. Questions that I don’t remember asking until I was at least ten.
No one is behind me. I stop and reach in my pocket for the only cash I have. It’s a few dollars. I honestly don’t even know how much. I wave him to the car and hand him the money. He said ‘God bless you’ as he took it.
Really? God bless me? God has blessed me. I have a roof over my head, a loving husband, two healthy kids…the list goes on and on. He’s blessed me already. I was so worried about keeping hold of my few dollars. I didn’t want to explain this to my 5 going on 12 year old son. Rather than seeing the opportunity to bless someone else I was worried. I shouldn’t be worried because He will provide.
This was a lesson for me. Would I answer His prompt to bless this man? I almost didn’t. As for explaining to my son. It didn’t end up being an issue. He told me as we drove away that the man should head to Florida because he probably has a mom and dad there. He hasn’t mentioned it again but I hope that seeing me helping another child of God will be a memory that remains with him forever.