Thursday, August 4, 2011

shortness of breath


There are moments unequivocal, that remind the soul of it's wealth at being here, on earth, and breathing. Those moments are unique though, in that they also remind us how quickly we could take our leave; life is short, and decisions ought to be made as if this fact were true.

It was a regular morning - up early, but not early enough to fit breakfast in with the getting ready. So I stopped at the Timmy's by my office before work; on a budget, but a two dollar cheese bagel would do. As I pulled up and parked my car between two yellow lines I couldn't help but notice that his sign said "hungry" somewhere near the bottom of the scrawl. He, sitting on the curbside and I, heels clicking as I walk over connect eyes and decide that breakfast time deserved breakfast - could I get him anything? A desperate voice emerges with urgent pleas for "anything with meat...I'm starving".

With the bagel and the breakfast sandwiches in hand I walk over to the man and hand him a very small token of humanity (what is one breakfast in 365?). His profuse thanks is jarring and I feel the drive-through line up boring holes between my shoulder blades. If you feed him breakfast, he might return, and I might eventually be made to feel guilty; how dare you.

While I'm feeling the heat on my back he asks a simple question, "Why are people so judgemental?" He tells of the woman who only yesterday scolded him for being on drugs and jobless; not before she marched off to her riches in her thick cloak of disdain. "I've never done drugs" he says defensively. "You think I want this life? You think I can apply for a job when people don't even want to look at me?"

I am stopped by his inquisition, and offer the words my mirror has told me with plentiful occasion: "You can't wear the judgement, it's not yours to keep. It doesn't have to define you," and then I add words that feel awkward but right, "I believe things will turn around for you soon," though I don't know if this is true.

His eyes are bright and blue and they choke with hope and his outstretched hand meets mine. Have a good day, we both wish for the other. The space between my car and I gets smaller as the air I breathe gets clear and heavy-scented with ideas. I find myself wondering if we've had it wrong this whole time, if monitoring morality is actually not the whole of the point, and if, perhaps, Jesus' eyes are actually blue.

I have been shown mercy and I have been in need of it; I have been in need of it and not received it. Which is better? - of course we know. Why then, do we insist on holding our graces too far above the heads of the ones in need? Should we not, as an echo to the sound of our lives so far, give mercy?


Mama said...

Too many people dearly love to sit in judgement of others. It somehow makes them feel superior, righteous, "at least I'm not like him."
Thank you for showing God's grace and mercy, even if it was just one breakfast out of 365. He won't forget you.

Natalie said...

That was a wonderful entry. Made me a little teary eyed (I'm emotional like that). Way to be God's hands :)

Colleen Taylor said...

"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19