At the Samaritan Inn things are busiest during the lunch hour. All morning folks usually just sit around and catch up on their sleep or talk and drink coffee and eat whatever breakfast pastries are available that day. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere and everyone is welcome to come and go as they please.

But when 12:00 rolls around the doors shut and Wayne starts talking. Generally he shares a mixture of Bible verses and life stories for about half an hour, then we pray together and eat lunch. The folks who listened to Wayne’s talk get in line first and everyone who stayed outside pours in after them. The food gets served in big portions and is eaten quickly. When everybody’s had enough folks start packing up and trickling back out onto the street. About a dozen or so usually linger until right at 1:30 when everything shuts down to clean up and get ready for the next day.

After lunch last Saturday while most folks were talking and gathering their things, a stocky man with a gray beard approached me. He introduced himself as Curtis and asked if I had a minute to talk. We sat down in Wayne’s office and closed the door and I asked him what was on his mind. Curtis told me about his former life as an electrician and a handyman. He told me about his family and his hobbies and how much he had taken for granted while he was still strong. He’d had a stroke less than a year ago and in the process lost everything. He lost the use of his left arm and left leg, and as a result he lost his job and the ability to make a living. Then, when he couldn’t provide for his family anymore he lost them, and with them his home and his possessions. Now he was living at the Rescue Mission and had no idea what the future held for him.

When he had finished his story we sat there together in silence for a few moments. “I’m sorry”, I said. “I’m so sorry.” He asked me if I would pray for him, and I did. I asked God to have mercy on him, to protect him while he was so vulnerable and give him the strength to carry on. I thanked God for caring so much about weak people like us and for loving us even though we don’t deserve it.

When I was done praying I said, “You’re a brave man. If I were in your shoes I would be so scared”. Curtis looked at me, and all of the sudden he was crying. I started crying too (even though I wasn’t really sure what we were crying about) and hugged him. He sobbed a little bit and then said, “Thank you for saying you would be scared. I’m terrified to be so helpless and it makes me feel like a little baby.” Then I lost it too and we were both sobbing.

Sometimes it’s simple things that are meaningful to us. Remembering someone’s birthday or the anniversary of when they lost a loved one. Giving a little gift or making a phone call for no reason. Just telling Curtis that I would be scared too made all the difference to him. In the same way, it’s the little things about Jesus that make him such an accessible person. The way he wept for the crowds and made such a fuss over little kids, or the way he willingly spent time with to crazy people and listened to the poor. I am so thankful that God pays attention to details.

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