While driving to church in downtown Detroit, I was already running late. I had been up late the night before so I was really tired and need a coffee. I passed the Starbucks, I passed Tim Horton’s, and I knew there was coffee at church. Although I was running late, I really wanted a spiced mocha from Great Lakes coffee on Woodward in Detroit. As I went out of my way and through construction traffic to get there, I had this feeling of being too much of a coffee elitist this morning. I kept telling myself, “why are you going out of your way to be late to church just to get a fancy coffee?” I justified in saying that it’s been a while since I’ve been to this coffee shop and I really wanted one. Although coffee is offered at church and I would’ve been perfectly fine with that I stuck with my guns and I went to get this latte. I passed many homeless people who were happy to just get any hot beverage this 25 degree morning. The thought of spending six dollars on this 8oz latte with such poverty around me didn’t phase me today, because I kept thinking, I buy dinner for homeless people all the time and I always give back -so today I’m gonna take care of me……..
When I got to church I walked in late and I sat in the back. I set my fancy latte down on the ledge in front of my chair. I took off my coat and I was excited to finally sit and drink my latte!! … Before I could go reach for it, three girls that walked in behind me walked past to find a seat and as they walked past one of the girls purses knocked over by a drink without even realizing it. It spilled all over the floor in front of the seats. I was dumbfounded. Part of me said, “did this really happen?” My friend sitting next to me busted out laughing. That’s all I could do at this point.. We just laughed. When I went to stand up to clean it up and go get napkins she put her hand on my leg and said “I got this.” Mind you, she is in a walking boot with a cast and is supposed to be staying off her feet. But she stepped over the railing went out to get napkins. She came back to the auditorium and cleaned it up so that I didn’t have to. That was quite the lesson for me in many ways. That servant style leadership shown is something to be admired. I took a few things from that today: 1- if your conscience is making you feel a certain way, listen to it because what’s going to happen is going to happen and we don’t always understand why. 2-The perspective of the girl who knocked over my coffee and had no idea, we don’t understand how little things in our life affects those around us. We go on about our day not knowing who we even affected negative or positive. It’s crucial to remember in life with everything you do. 3-there is no use crying over spilled milk, or coffee.
Today I went to the hospital to drop off a prescription and when I was in the parking garage trying to park I had quite an interesting experience… There was an SUV that kept backing in and out of a space trying to get out. There was at least 10 cars behind me waiting to get past this car. Finally when the driver pulled in one more time before she reversed the three cars in front of me zoomed past and I followed around we were all frustrated. I looked back at the car and it was an old lady in there.. The remaining cars that were waiting continue to zoom past behind me. I parked one floor up and I had a feeling that something wasn’t right. I walked down to the next level in the parking garage and went up to the car door of the lady that was again trying to reverse out of a space. I went to her driver side window and asked her if she was in need of help. She said, “yes I am”. I said how about you get into the passenger seat and I drive your car out of here for you. She immediately got out and went around to the passenger side no questions asked. As I drove down a couple of the ramps I talked to her to try to figure out what was going on she said that she had eyes surgery today and it was supposed to wait but she had to get back home right away so she left the office early. Her family was too busy to drive her to her eye surgery today. I told her that it was not a good idea for her to leave right now and that she should wait. I sat in the car with her for 20 minutes while she told me stories of her coming to this country with only five dollars in her pocket. It didn’t look like her eye condition was getting better enough to drive so I parked her car in a different spot and brought her inside with me to fill my prescription. While we waited for my prescription to get filled and we had lunch and continued to chat. She was the sweetest 80-year-old lady I have met. Of course I am biased towards Polish people but she had a lot of wisdom to share and she had quite an interesting story. Once her vision came back to normal I walked her back to her car and made sure that she got out of the parking garage okay. She thanked me and told me that God sent an angel to help her today and that she was very grateful. I learned a lesson in humility today. I was so frustrated and angry at this person who could not back out of the space and was holding everybody up while in the meantime it was somebody who was struggling and needed help. I need to exercise Grace more frequently in life as much as has been given to me over the years. We are in such a hurry so many times that it’s hard to see what’s really going on around us.
This homeless guy was sitting inside a restaurant in Greektown and people inside the restaurant called the police on him for being there. Cops responded and removed him from the facility. I asked the people that were sitting next to him why they called the police. They said ” he smelled bad and he is homeless, I don’t want to deal with that while I am eating my dessert.” I can understand that point…to an extent….. What was unique about the situation was that the police officer went back in and bought the guy a coffee and brought it out to him. Then he proceeded to tell the man that he hopes he does better in life and makes better choices. My friend went up and asked the guy his name and prayed over him. He was very thankful and said that nobody has done that for him before and that nobody even cares what his name is. Homeless people are people too…..they are human beings. They may struggle with addiction many times, but we all have our own struggles that aren’t as obvious. We were meant to love people and not judge them. It is unrealistic (and a bad idea) to give cash to every homeless person that you see on the street. It is a good thing to make eye contact and acknowledge them as a person instead of walking past to avoid the begging question we all expect.
Ive lived on the streets, I know the routine. My family comes from the inner city, so I can boldly say- It is NOT wise to give a homeless person money “for the bus” or “for groceries” or whatever the story may be. You are doing more HARM than good. It is better ( yet more time consuming) to walk them into a nearby restaurant and buy them a sandwich or food. If they refuse that- there is your answer….walk away and wish them the best…they have choices to make in life as well. You cant save everyone..but you can love people and change the world one life at a time.