There I was, sitting on the coffee shop patio at the corner of Lonsdale and 29th, engaged in a business meeting.
As we were talking, I was trying to stay focused on the topic at hand, but my ears picked up the familiar sound of shopping cart on sidewalk. I glanced to see a dusty, scruffy man pushing his cart full of empty bottles and cans.
What I saw next took my breath away.
The man manoeuvred his full cart to the corner, pressed the button, and waited. When the walking signal flashed, he proceeded to cross. I was so intent on him I didn’t notice that on the other side a frail, old lady with a walker was also waiting to cross. They met right where the sidewalk sloped to the road.
The man navigated his cumbersome cart around the lady-obstacle who had by now lost her chance to make it across the road. But the man didn’t keep going. Instead, he laboriously parked his cart up a small hill in the bushes and walked back to the lady. Pushing the button again, he flashed a smile and said something to the shattery woman.
When the signal came, the man gently touched the elbow of the lady and slowly walked with her as she hobble-hopped her walker across the busy street. She was so slow that the signal changed before they got three quarters of the way across. The man simply held up his hands to the waiting cars, instructing them to pause their hustling agendas.
Once across, the woman nodded her gratitude and kept moving. The man pressed the crossing button a third time, waited, and walked back to his cart. Backing onto the sidewalk, he too proceded down the road in the opposite direction.
Now you tell me…
Who was closer to the heart of Christ? The unkempt, unlaundered, and likely homeless man pushing his cart to the next garbage can, or me, the man full of theology and memory verses who observed the whole thing while comfortably sipping an Americano?
I can tell you it wasn’t me, and I am humbled by this example of the poor in spirit coming to the aid of the poor in spirit.
Hear the Spirit say, “Well done, good and faithful homeless man. Well done.”