Today, we drove through downtown Louisville and I noticed her. She bent over to pick up the remains of a lit cigarette. Then with one in each hand, she smoked the one she was finishing and the one she just found. I noticed her eyes. They seemed hollow as she stared into the distance while she smoked. I noticed others look past her. Our light turned green and we took a right onto the second street bridge. As I continued to drive, her presence stayed with me.
I also noticed a man laying on the sidewalk in a sleeping bag with his head propped up on a bag of belongings. He didn’t look comfortable but seemed to be asleep as traffic passed by him.
We got home and while putting our groceries away I could hear someone yelling on our street. I glanced out the window and saw a woman yelling ~ yelling at no one I could see. She was in deep dialogue and very upset with the absent individual as she walked over to the next block.
As I write this, I am teary-eyed. I am sad for them. I am sad for me. I am sad for this world because so many suffer without the means to restore, recover, redeem, or replenish. Why is it so?
Each gift I noticed today has a story. Yes, each person is a gift no matter if they smoke two cigarettes at a time, yell at people I can’t see, or sleep in the sunlight on a sidewalk. Their stories were/are full of dreams, friends, love, hopes, pains, disappointments, and relationships. They have a story and I wonder if their story resides only within them or if others know their story and care. Do others know their suffering, aloneness, criticism from others, and pain? Do others see their hearts – do I?
I believe this is why Jesus came. He saw the world suffering – the whole world (1 John 2:2). Jesus said, it isn’t healthy that needs a doctor rather it is sick. It’s sad on my part to believe I can distinguish who is sick and who is not. It is a dangerous place for my soul. He came for each of us ~ we all need a doctor ~ we are all sick. This realization will help me see everyone differently.
When I live my life in lieu of others I will have lived my life unto Him. He saw/sees our need and came/comes. Matthew 25:45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
I will never become poor by giving – I will never be satisfied by thinking only of myself – I will never grow if I don’t take notice of those around me – I will never learn while I am talking – I will never see the hearts of others without looking into the eyes of another – I will never receive newness of life if I don’t receive from the One who sees my own poverty.