Or the ones in front of you.
God sent to me today a repulsive man. Dirty, unkempt, disheveled and unlovely…. according to my shameful standards.
I had seen him before- waited on him before- avoided him before. Because I felt discomfort. Not his, my own.
Today was different.
I had noticed in the past few times I had seen him in the store he had lost weight. A lot. I had also noticed he had very little hair- and what he did have, was just growing back.
It is so easy to treat well, ‘those’ who fit our ideal. In looks and means. Treat them well – the ‘privileged’- as they would like to be served and in doing so, why not? They pay our bills. Look beyond those we judge as not worthy.
Getting past my own history of being judged as not worthy hasn’t been easily shed.; as a result, it’s easy for me to perpetuate that same sin.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.” Mathew 7:1
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?” Luke 6:41
God’s spirit was with me today- actually, I was attentive today. He is with me always, although sadly, I am not quite as faithful.
As soon as I saw him I knew.
The Lord was giving me an opportunity to love someone. An undesirable someone. How did Mother Teresa do it? Cared for all those on the streets of Calcutta? With stinking open wounds?
OK Lord, help me to say yes.
In the midst of waiting on the ‘privileged’ I felt an urgency to let this man know that he was ‘seen’- not only seen, but belonged. Right there. In that fancy store. Even though it looked like he was in the wrong place- fancy priced food and fancy looking people.
As I was cutting his cheese, I made sure to offer him samples as is the custom of our store to make sure the wheel we are offering is pleasing- cheese is a living food and can vary from wheel to wheel.
I wanted to treat him just as I would treat the guy in town that owns and keeps buying up all the property….the one who thinks he is king. And is usually treated as such because, you know, he has the money.
I wanted to be a different person today. I wanted to make sure this man, as so out of place as he looked- I wanted to let him know that he belonged. Not only belonged, but had an absolute right to take a place there.
I wanted to pass along the blessing I have been given.
It’s so easy to dismiss others. The ones that don’t fit our ideals, our needs.
I got up the nerve to question this man while I was tallying up his bill. “You’ve lost some weight” I said. “Are you okay?”
I’ve missed many opportunities in my life to serve Him. I didn’t miss this one.
Thanks be to God.
As he turned to leave, I asked him his name- I could see he was tearing up- as I do, usually when I think someone has really ‘seen’ me.
He told me his name was Kevin… wow. I said “My brother’s name was Kevin!”
My brother Kevin died at 50. Surrounded by empty plastic jugs. Vodka jugs.
Thank you Lord, for sending me another Kevin.
I really miss my brother.