09/04/18 Recall. Manhattan, bound for London.
Woke up, caught a last glimpse of the skyline, then snagged two trains to get over to the airport. Not going to lie, I was a little tired. Between trains I stopped and waited in line at one of those no-seating, pop-up type breakfast stands. Coffee does the tired soul good (cold water does too, give it a try). To be honest, a panhandler on the first train annoyed me a bit; I can be grumpy at 7:10am, and no ounce of who I am believed 35¢ was going to get him to his job interview… And there was now a lady walking through the line asking for something. She was “just a homeless panhandler,” quite clearly…at first.
Then my soul woke up, realizing the thought which had entered my mind, and the bitterness in my heart, and the fact that there was an image-bearer of God Almighty right in front of me–and she was requesting a small cup of coffee. I asked if she’d like breakfast also, and she made a pastry selection. I got her a large coffee, as I would myself, as I did for myself.
We got to stand and talk for several minutes while she prepared her 1 part coffee-2 parts sugar beverage, and I waited on my 2 for $4 deal of the day. I gotta eat because I’m an idiot and decided to save $40 by opting for the over-the-pond flight option sin meals.
Turns out that “just a homeless panhandler” has a name she goes by; she is Nicole. She’s a human, who experiences many of the same emotions and experiences as you and I, like hunger and thirst, and sadness and loss. She has a story. I asked if I could ask her a personal question. Part of me thought this Long-Islander might retort that I just had. But she didn’t. She said go for it. I asked how she became homeless.
Her mom died. Her mom who was responsible for half the rent in their studio apartment. Nicole had no big network, not much community, and couldn’t find another roommate. She was rightfully, lawfully evicted; you can’t pay half-rent and stay. She kept going to work…until she was asked not to come back because of the way she smelled. She worked logistics for customs for several years.
I was able to share some story with her which led her to smile. I think she dreamed for a minute, which may not happen often. She seemed hopeless. I told Nicole I would be praying for her and for the situation to improve. I’m praying she will fix her eyes on Jesus. I’m praying the right people will cross paths with her. I’m praying that I might have even been one of them.
You guys make things like this possible.
Your prayers. Your support. Thank you.