I am currently reading a book by Jen Hatmaker called 'Interrupted'.
Interrupted encourages believers to ask if their lives bring integrity to the gospel. Follow the faith journey that begins with one dangerous prayer, “Raise up in me a passion,” and concludes with a life of service to the last, the least, the forgotten, and the forsaken.
Jen's words have been challenging me to ask myself the question, "Am I really living out the gospel?"
Am I living a generous life?
Am I aware of the needs of the people around me?
Am I meeting any of those needs?
Do I care about the poor, the widowed, and the orphaned?
I'd say for the most part the answers to these questions is NO. Although, I could say yes, my actions would prove my words false. I do believe that the gospel encompasses more than just these questions but lately, these are the questions that have been running through my mind.
Yesterday I hung out with my friend Kristen for a couple of hours and then I went to Starbucks to do my normal thing. Blog, read, or listen to music. But I quickly became very distracted. There was a guy who was sitting a couple of tables away from me by himself. And he was talking under his breath either to himself or whoever was inside his head. I assumed the latter. He didn't 'appear' to be homeless but I wouldn't have been surprised if he said he was. He was dressed in outdated but clean clothes and had very tan, leather-like skin, typical of someone who spends a lot of time outside. Sitting on his table were a pack of cigarettes and a tall hot coffee. He looked nervous. Or anxious. We kept making eye contact and I tried hard not to stare as to creep him out.
By this point, my heart is starting to race because I feel the Holy Spirit telling me to talk to this man I've been staring at for the last 10 minutes. But I don't know how I'm going to approach him. Should I ask him to come over and sit by me? Should I go sit down at his table? Should I write him a note and send it in the form of a paper airplane? Ok, the last one wasn't really an option. Eventually the man got up to go outside to smoke a cigarette. I followed him. I remembered that I left my wallet in my van and he happens to be standing right next to it. (the van, not the wallet). I didn't think he was going to try and steal it, it was just a good opportunity to go outside so I could talk to him.
So I went and got my wallet and then I introduced myself. His name is Mike. He was very nice and apologized for the the smoke. I told him it was ok and that it didn't bother me, even though it really did. I asked him if he was waiting for someone or just hanging out and he said he was just enjoying a cup of coffee and a break from his aunt, who he's staying with. He started rambling, most of which I couldn't really understand, about his life and how his aunt says he has a mental illness because of drugs. He said he never did drugs. I asked him if he needed anything, and he said no. I asked him if I could buy him a hotdog across the street and he said thanks but he had just eaten. We chatted for a few more minutes in the hot sun and then I shook his hand, told him to let me know if he changed his mind about the hotdog, and went back inside Starbucks. A few minutes later he came back in as well, and we went back to sitting at our respective tables. I acted like I was reading something even though I was really thinking about our interaction and Mike continued to talk to whoever it was he was talking to.
The reason I tell you this story is because I believe God is trying to interrupt my life. All of our lives, really. Ever since high school, I've always been drawn towards the homeless. I don't really know why. I guess I just want to validate them as a real person and not the way they are seen by the rest of the world. I've been thinking a lot lately about how I can have less in order to give more. How can I be more open to hearing God's voice when it comes to reaching out to people.
I'm starting to ramble so I'm gonna stop here. Thanks for listening.
To be continued....