Saturday, November 20, 2010
There are so many opportunities to bless people, but when do you ever see a person bless a stranger? So many times in our world, we pass a lost soul or a person just wanting to be talked to. You don't have to see someone hold a cardboard sign in fingerless gloves to know when someone is lonely. However, who is really the lonely one? Does a man lost in his career and agenda who goes to bed at night panicked about tomorrow really live the good life or does a man who has nothing and can barely find the money to eat really appreciate life? A man dressed in expensive black business clothes sits down to talk to a friend and discusses politics, where their kids are going to college, the economy, the latest news coverage, the ridiculous amount of money spent on a certain government structure, and so on. A middle-aged homeless man sits next to me on the bench outside Starbucks and leans over to me and says, "You guys smoke?" "No, we don't." "Well That's good, it's bad for your health." My friend and I were sitting on the bench next to him with a sign that read, "Take some free change for some coffee!" We had a can full of quarters and nickels sitting there for people to take with no expectations of reciprocity but to simply bless someone. Several people driving very expensive cars walked by us without even glancing at the sign, because they most likely assumed we were begging for money. We were dressed in casual clothes sitting outside in the cold. Not a single person looked at our sign up to this point, discouraging me quite a bit. I looked to my left to see three homeless men talking about life. "So, how's your dog, man?" "He's doing great, he is healthy and happy." "That's great to hear, how are you?" "I'm doing great, just sat in a warm restaurant for quite a while and I'm good to go for the night." "Cool man". This conversation went on and on. Several minutes later, the older gentleman acknowledged me and I looked to him. He asked, "so what are you two young guys doing sitting out here if you don't smoke?" My friend replied, "We're just giving out free change to people for coffee to help them out." The eccentric homeless man began to talk about how there must be hidden cameras somewhere and that there was a reason as to why we were doing what we were doing. In his eyes, we are two spoiled rotten rich kids who would have no reason to selflessly give money to another person without receiving something in return. I changed the subject and asked him, "Where are you from, man?" "Right here," he replied. "I'm from right here on the streets... And I'm livin' comfortably for sure! I don't know how those guys back east do it! They must freeze to death!" I had to hold back my tears as I was experiencing this man who had a bag, a dog, and a bicycle explain to me how grateful he was to live in a place that is warm enough for him to stay alive at night. I'm concerned that my midterm grades aren't all 100% grades and this man is telling me he is thankful to be alive. The three men began to talk again about various things quietly on their bench away from everyone outside in the cold. Then, a man who was much older than the other two men walked up to us and read our sign with a little bit of trouble. "Take...some... free change for...coffee. So what you're sayin' is... You'd buy ME a cup of coffee for no charge?" "Yeah, of course, do you want one?" He had a look of disbelief on his face. "Uh, yeah, I'd love some coffee, man ha!" We walked into Starbucks with him and I walked up to the counter. "What can I get started for you?" the barista asked me. "What do you want, man?" "HA! Just some kind of coffee the moon ain't gonna shine through. Black coffee." I went to hand the woman my money and she motioned to me that it was no charge. Good deeds are contagious, period. The man was speechless for a few moments and then just began to laugh. "Man, you guys are nice guys. I haven't had a good cup of coffee in so long." "It's no problem man, glad to help out," I replied. We went back outside and sat back down on the bench. After talking for quite a long time, the man said, "Name's Martin, like Martian without the A, hahaha, what's your guys' names?" We introduced ourselves and continued talking about random things that he would bring up. He suddenly got serious. "You guys wanna know something? About 90% of the people in the world are good. The other 10% are bad and they need to stay where they are. You are good people. You guys are doing things that I've never seen." He paused for a few moments. "I want to say something very...good. I want to tell you something..." He paused again and got a very serious look on his weathered face. "Thank you." No words have felt so sincere in my ears in my entire life. A grateful heart came to me in the most unexpected way possible and Martin blessed me far more than my cup of coffee blessed him. My Iphone buzzed in my pocket as I realized that to talk to my loved ones, all I have to do is press a button. Martin has to walk for miles to see the people he cares about and the entire time he is walking, people think negatively of him just for appearing and living the way he does. There is no greater reward than to bless a person who is in need of love. Martin APPRECIATES me and my friend's tiny kind deed. He is thankful in this thanksgiving season... are you?