the man on my corner

There’s a man on my corner, I see him there as I pass by on my way to and from work each day.  Actually, maybe it’s more his corner than my corner.  I’m sure he thinks so, seeing as how he spends more time there than I do.  At any rate, he is there, sitting with his sign, waving to those who pass by and accepting donations from outstretched arms from the cars waiting on the light to turn green.

I have been one of those outstretched arms upon occasion.  But I wanted to be more than an anonymous donor.  I wanted to know his story.  Everybody has a story, we all do.   I became curious about what his story might be.  So I spent time with him now and then on his corner, on OUR corner.  I knew his face, now I know his name.  No one should be nameless and faceless, no one should be invisible.

And so we talked.  He walks with a limp.  He is a veteran, as too many of our homeless are.  But I also discovered that this particular man on my corner is not homeless, just having trouble making ends meet.  It is often such a thin line that separates the housed from the homeless.  The stories of the people that I see not only on my corner but on other corners, were I to know them, would be as different as the individuals to whom they belong.  Perhaps, homelessness has not one root cause, but in each life results from circumstances coming together in a perfect storm of destruction leaving little left of the life the individual once knew.

Starting over must be a daunting task.  As I sat with the man on my corner, there were plenty who offered him “fish” that day.  No one offered him a fishing pole. How could they in the short time before the traffic light changed color and they were forced to move on, both literally and figuratively.  Besides, if you’re going to give a person a fishing pole, you should be prepared to give them fishing lessons to go along with it.

So my friend will probably continue to sit on my corner, his corner, as he has done in the past.  He has a smile and a wave for everyone that passes by and seems content with the small kindnesses he receives each day.  It is enough.  Daily bread. In time, I may learn more of his story and of the circumstances that brought him to my corner.  But for today, it is enough that we have our daily bread and that we thank God for it.

“The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”  (Psalm 145:9)

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”  (I Timothy 6:18)

sincerely,       Grace Day




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