This past weekend my family and another family (friend’s of ours) headed over to Indianapolis to the Chidren’s Museum. We then stayed overnight in a 3-bedroom hotel suite. Friday night we headed into the city for dinner. We knew there was a Panera in town so we found a nearby parking garage, parked, and headed on foot to the restaurant. As we were approaching the crosswalk that woud lead us to Panera I spotted a homeless man sitting on the ground against a newspaper box. He had a kitten.
Our kids were with us and I thought – here’s my chance. This is it. This is a perfect opportunity. We headed to Panera and ate. During dinner I kept thinking about the man and what to do. I was asking myself if whether or not I should do something or not. I was feeling lazy and maybe a little self conscious about buying something for the man. We needed breakfast for the next day so I went up to get 4 bagels for our family. I guess at this point I had silently resolved not to buy anything. That was the easy thing to do. But the lady behind the counter said it’s a much better deal to get a bagel pack (6 bagels). And it was. Only 75 cents more and I could get 2 more bagels. So I did. I asked for an extra bag and put them in there. It was settled. I was going to give the man the bagels. I was ready to back out but God nudged me forward and made it a little easier.
We headed across the street and I asked my 6 and almost-4-year old if they want to come with me to give this man bagels. They did and seemed excited. We walked over to him and I crouched down and said hi. I told him we brought him bagels and he said put them down right there (he was holding his cat). I introduced him to my kids and said my daughter loves kittens. I asked him his name and he said “David”. His cat was named Lucky. We chatted a few moments and then told him we’d pray for him. He said thanks and we went on our way. It wasn’t hard at all.
That night we forgot to pray for him but remembered last night. And last night I asked my boy where he thought David would sleep. He said “maybe in a house” I said he didn’t have a house. “Maybe in an apartment” He doesn’t have a home. “Maybe in a hotel?” He doesn’t have money. “Maybe in a place where Grandma Dorothy lives?” (retirement community). No. I realized the idea of homelessness is beyond what an almost-4-year-old can understand. But I couldn’t quite answer the question either. I don’t know where homeless people sleep. I tried to explain how they sleep outside. I told him that next time we find a person without a home, we’ll have to find out more about them.
My wife and I hope that our kids will grow up realizing that this is just what we do. We see someone who needs help and we don’t pause and ask if we should, we pause and ask what we can do. Or maybe we don’t pause at all, we just do. The kids did not hesitate one bit walking up to a homeless man. They are not jaded like we adults. They do not have preconceived notions. They do not make pre-judgements. They just know this is some guy with a cat who happens to not have a home.
It was a good first step.
P.S. – Would you do me a favor? Take 5 seconds and ask God to provide David and Lucky what they need today. Thank you.