House Wife Was Scared To Invite The Homeless Man While Her Husband Was Away.
Story by Donna K. Patch
I’ve never been homeless but even so, I am drawn to them. I am aware that this could be myself or a loved one…”there but for the grace of God, go I.”
As I walked my energetic mini-schnauzer in the early morning light this September morn, a homeless young man was walking on the opposite side of the street, picking through the trash barrels. He was scruffy and dejected looking, as he slowly pushed his shopping cart along, looking for treasures. On the bottom level of the cart, a wagging black and white tail peeked through a dirty dark green towel which looked like a makeshift sunscreen for the dog. The temperatures are still in the high 90’s and low 100’s this time of year in Phoenix and I immediately realized this man cared for his companion’s welfare. Maybe it was his only loyal companion on the uncertain road he traveled…
A young teen age boy was making his way to the designated bus stop further down the street. As he passed by the homeless man, he turned his head away, ignoring the dirty man’s presence. I was just close enough to catch his mumble, “Sure, pretend you don’t see me.” My heart was torn. I made sure I smiled and looked directly at him, as a person of value, and wished him a good morning as I passed by on the opposite side of the street. I thought of crossing over but wasn’t sure how two strange dogs would react to one another.
As I finished my return route home, my pace quickened. I had decided I would put a lunch sack together for this man, and I had dog food at home I could share, too.
At the rate he was walking, he wouldn’t go far and I’d soon catch up to him by driving back to the spot I last saw him. He’d be in the vicinity. I hummed as I put a peanut butter and jam sandwich together, a cooked chicken breast leftover from last night’s supper, a crisp sour green apple, and bottled water in a sack and lots of paper towels. I forgot the dog food; I was so eager to get back to him…
I grabbed my Jeep key’s and drove around the corner, then around the neighborhood, then around the block and then in an every widening radius of the surrounding area. He was gone! It was as if he had disappeared in a puff of smoke or burrowed underground.
My high spirits deflated, forlornly I returned home with my sack of food.
What I had to share…I couldn’t! Thinking back, I realize I should’ve asked him to stay put and tell him I would bring him food, but I didn’t want false pride to get in the way and have him say no. If it was there in front of him, I could just hand it to him. I could have invited him home, but I was a woman home alone this particular morning and didn’t feel totally comfortable doing that. I could see the headlines, “Housewife, foolishly brings homeless man home and is…brutally murdered.” I didn’t want that to be the only greeting as my husband returned home from a trip back east. He often says he can’t understand how I can talk so easily to strangers, and I should be more aware, and less naive of what’s going on around me, blah, blah, blah. So I took the practical, safe course of action and let my head overrule my heart.
I should have obeyed the Lord’s prompting and trusted my first instinct. He gave me this wonderful opportunity and I blew it! Not only would this shabby stranger be fed, but myself as well if I had listened to my heart’s urging!
I, too went hungry that day and am the poorer for it. This lesson shall not be in vain.
Next time, and I know there will be one, I will follow my heart and act impulsively. It’s the way God created me and how I operate…foolish or not, I need to be true to the real “me.” I pray that when the next opportunity arises, I will joyously and spontaneously give from the heart.