To the Homeless Man in Jersey

When we lived in Jersey, we saw homeless people every day. I remember one of the first few days of being in NYC when looking for an apartment, there was a homeless man, laying on the ground while the rain poured on him. He looked so dirty, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever seen. But the sad thing is, you end up seeing so many homeless and needy people every day when living in NYC/Jersey, that you almost become numb to the fact and stop noticing them. It just becomes part of the everyday sights.

But there was one homeless man in Jersey I saw nearly every single day. He had crutches, always was holding the door outside the Newport mall, and generally always had a smile on his face. It started hitting me that I was seeing this man more than my family. He literally saw Eva more than her grandparents saw her. So, I kind of had a change of heart towards him. If I was going to see the same man every single day while I was out walking, I thought I should try and make a small difference in his life. Try and make his day a little better. I rarely gave him money, but I did start carrying extra granola bars or fruit snacks to give to him. Mostly, I tried to just tell him to have a good day, while making eye contact. We never look homeless people in the eyes, have you noticed that? I think it’s because it makes us uncomfortable.

Well, months have passed, we moved away and I’ll never see that man again. I haven’t thought about him really at all since moving. But the other day, I was driving to the grocery store and there was a man asking for money on the corner, a typical sight. I really doubt he was homeless, he’s just a man looking for handouts. Usually out here in Utah, I’m so negative towards these panhandlers. “Come on, go get a real job! There’s a McDonalds RIGHT there!” So, I drove by and didn’t do anything. And I definitely didn’t make eye contact. But when I came out of the grocery store, there he was again on the corner. Suddenly, that homeless man in Jersey City popped into my mind, out of the blue. He taught me that we should be kind to those we come across everyday. We should be sensitive towards those around us. And we should spread God’s love, especially to those in need. I thought to myself, “Look, who cares if this man is not homeless. If he’s in a place where he is on the side of the road asking for money, he definitely isn’t in a great place.” So, I handed him a protein drink I had just bought from the store, smiled and told him to have a good day.

It wasn’t much and I definitely am not saying to give handouts to everyone you see. But I am grateful for the chance I had to serve that man back in Jersey and for the lessons he taught me. When we feel a prompting to do something, to help out in some way, or just smile and look someone in the eyes, we should do so. You never know what impact you can make by just stepping out of your comfort zone a bit.

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

-Acts 10:34

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *