3/15/08

A walk around Grand Rapids.



We have been blessed with some beautiful weather here in Grand Rapids, MI. It has been nice to get out and see the area. I went for a pretty long walk yesterday from Jen and Rich's house into the heart of downtown Grand Rapids
.

I was a little surprised and how unfriendly everyone seemed on my walk. Nobody smiled or even looked at me. They just rushed by. It was a bit discouraging. When I decided to make my way back up out of downtown, this African American man smiled and said, "Hi! Are you getting some good pictures?" (I had my camera out around my neck).

"Yeah!" I said.

"I'm Jerry Osborne," he said. "It's a beautiful city, isn't it?"

We started talking for a little bit and he was really nice. Then he said, "Hey, I really need 75 cents more for the bus. I promise I'm not a bum." (He was.) "But if you could just spare me 75 cents I would really appreciate it."

Back in Portland I probably would have told him that I didn't have any cash and then walked away. But I've been learning very recently what it's like to live each day wondering where you are going to sleep, what you are going to eat and how you are going to get from one place to another.

I reached into my purse to grab some change and this guy about fifteen feet away started yelling at me, "Nooo! Don't do it!" He was laughing. I looked at Jerry and watched him hang his head in embarrassment. He was the only person on my entire walk (and it was a long one) that said anything to me or even smiled. I pulled out a dollar and handed it to him.

"Thanks for saying Hi," I said. "Have a really nice day."

He looked at me with very sincere eyes and said, "Thank you." He reached out his hand and I shook it. Then I turned around and continued back to Jen and Rich's house.

I'd like to believe that Jerry really needed that 75 cents for the bus, but, the truth is, I don't know. He could have been using it to save up for some booze. But when it all boils down... Jesus was homeless, too. "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." Those are his words. I remembered that he also said...

"Give to the man who asks of you, and don't turn away from the one who would borrow from you. As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me."

I used to memorize verses like these when I was a little girl for a dollar. It's amazing how tables turn. One day, we wake up and realize that we are all homeless.






1 comment:

  1. Wow, Rachel, I was really touched by this story. We can become so calloused sometimes, and the way you handled this man was truly beautiful - really what I believe Jesus would have done.

    Kathi

    ReplyDelete

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