Monday, February 25, 2013

sacred intersections with people of peace

I needed to get my grandson to go to sleep, which we usually do via the stroller and a walk.  However, this day it was raining and hailing hard, so we went for a drive instead.  We live in urban Sacramento city and have a large homeless population throughout our community.  We do have many shelters, but many homeless people choose to live on the streets for any number of reasons (mental health issues being the most prevalent, they just can't handle confinement and lots of people in one place.)  Anyway, this day with Anthony in his car seat I drove around downtown/midtown past all the places I know my "friends" frequent.  I hadn't seen anyone, which was puzzling considering the weather, as I expected to find them huddled up in their "homes".  On the way back home, I decided to drive the street that passes by the elevated freeway here, often a home to many temporarily.  As we drove by our YMCA I looked to the left under the freeway and saw the familiar loaded shopping carts and large boxes (homes).  We pulled in and I grabbed my bags of energy bars, etc..  Before I could get my window completely down (Anthony was asleep by now, so I wasn't able to actually get out and visit this time), a pleasant (think "person of peace") African American man ambled up to the window.  I handed him my bags and simple said, "Grub".  He replied, "I know you.  I knew you was a'comin."  I said, "God is good isn't He?", and he replied, "Yes, He is." We gave our blessings and parted company; him to a friend lying in a sleeping bag keeping warm and me to our all too comfortable and warm home to put Anthony to sleep. Now, that would be story enough I suppose, but there's actually more.

A few days later, with my minivan reloaded with clothing, food and blankets, I decided to go for a drive (think mission trip).  I headed back to the freeway area where I found my friends had moved a bit.  This time I stopped and got out with my larger bags this time.  I set them down and noticed that a young (caucasian) man was reading from his cell phone, yes, holding "church" for my friend and his buddy (still in his warm sleeping bag).  I didn't interrupt, but simply exchange smiles and two thumbs from each other and went on my way, knowing somehow God was doing His thing via another sacred intersection I was privileged to witness.  And I suppose this story could certainly now come to an end.  But, the beautiful epilogue was provided by my wife, who coincidentally swims daily at the YMCA.  She came home the other day and said, "I saw your friend I think?  He was wearing your parka, the brown and yellow one.  Did you give that to him?"  :-)

Patrick Watters (and Patti too)
aka da Moose and wife  (taking a Lenten break from Facebook currently)

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