Lent 2011 Part IV

This morning there was a well bundled individual with a very detailed sign and a walker sitting on the ground at the corner where I get off the bus. I'm hardwired to get across the street right after exiting the bus, so I didn't even see the person until I got across the street to wait for the next walk signal. I worked my way back and under the ragged and dirty but abundant winter clothes was an approximately 40 year old man. Pitted, cracked and brown with plaque, the teeth that formed his otherwise nice and pleasant smile looked absolutely excruciating to have in one's head.

I asked him if I could buy him some breakfast. I listed a few of the places in the vicinity (I really should do some research on options around here) but he said he'd eaten breakfast already at the shelter and would only like some black coffee from the Starbucks a few shops away to keep him warm. I went and got it for him as it would have been a hassle for him to get there with his walker and all his things. It made me glad I'm not a coffee drinker...the line in there was crazy! I brought him his coffee, he thanked me and I went on my way.

This man and the people I've had the opportunity to speak with before have all been so calm and grateful. I must admit I anticipated a bit more of a challenge when I started doing this and I'm trying not to let myself be caught off-guard in the future when I will inevitably have an experience with someone who is harder to talk to; someone more bitter about their situation, without the psychological ability to control who or what that bitterness is directed toward. I suppose I expect this behavior because I can't imagine what I would do in their situation. I can see myself not being as gracious as the people I've encountered so far, though I'd obviously like to be...who can know for certain without actually being put in their shoes.

Just a coffee hardly satisfies my Lenten commitment for the week so I should be posting another reflection later today or this week.  Thanks for reading :)