A few nights ago, while in the Wal-Mart parking lot leaving the store, I heard a voice while on the way to my vehicle. “Excuse me sir… excuse me!” When I heard it, I knew it was an older woman.
At that time, it was around 9pm, humid, cloudy, dark, and this normal 24-hour Wal-Mart is closing early because of recent coronavirus mandates. Although, I was tired and wanted to get home, nor did I want to engage with anyone due to magnified health concerns, plus I usually ignore beggars at grocery stores… I stopped to give her my attention. Turning around to her I replied, “Hi, how are you? What can I do for you?”
There she was. I saw a dark-skinned elderly woman (she looked like she was 70, but she later told me she was 46 years old) appearing to have been drinking or doing drugs earlier that day. Walking with her head down, wearing a cheap wig and cheap clothes, carrying a garbage bag filled with what looked like clothes from a laundromat, and a bag of snacks she purchased from Wal-Mart. She asked, “Can I please get a ride home? I don’t live too far from here. Please!”
I initially wanted to dismiss her… but, she said kept saying “Please”. I still hear those words echoing in my ears. I didn’t know who she was or where she came from. All I knew was that she needed help. She didn’t appear threatening to me. So, after asking her a few questions, regarding the contents of the bag, the location she wanted to go to, and so on… I said yes. And, I brought her home.
Not every stranger is out to hurt you. Not every homeless person is a drug-addict. Not every Christian has the heart of Christ. Not every skinny person eats healthy. Things aren’t always as they may seem.
I also want to say that I’m not a saint. Nor do I help everyone who asks. But, for whatever reason, something within my spirit told me to give her a ride home, and I listened. And, for the next 10 minutes she was with me I tried my best to show her love and respect, until I dropped her off.
Also, I had a very weird dream a few nights ago. In the dream, I walked along the sidewalks in an unknown poor metropolitan area which was filled with high-rises of poor homeless people. I walked into a complex filled with unclean homeless people. I entered one of the high-rises looking to go around and help people, but someone next to me said, “Be mindful, the higher you go (meaning in a 20 floor building) the more dirty it is.” Dirty in reference to people urinating on themselves, not bathing or living in unclean areas without water.
That dream really made me think. In the dream I questioned whether I could deal with the smell of uncleanness, the chance of someone touching me, or if I would step in something dirty. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to help the homeless people in the building, but I also didn’t want be around human excrement either. So, ultimately I chose not to go up.
Was the choice I made in my dream made out of wisdom or fear? Could it perhaps be both? I don’t know. Nevertheless, here is what I received from the dream. I realize that if I truly want to help people in a great way, even in a sacrificial way and not self-seeking… I’m going to have to get dirty. In order to be in a position where I have the authority/power to affect people, I need to be willing to be around dirty people.
Sometimes we have to risk our own cleanness in order to show love to those who are unclean. Just like Jesus did in the parable when He touched and healed the leper. Showing love is about sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice in your life in order to fulfill your dreams?