Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Sandwich

Today, I bought lunch for a homeless man.

I almost didn't though. I got stopped at a busy intersection for what felt like a lifetime, and I could see him out of my peripheral vision. But I couldn't bring myself to look at him, to make eye contact. I remember dumbly trying to hurry up the traffic by wishing that the cars would go faster. Once I was able, I drove past him believing that I could stop thinking about him. I was wrong. Oh how wrong I was.

Immediately, I had this indescribable feeling, this compulsion to do something. What I felt called to do was more than just uttering a prayer for this man. But I was afraid of the unknown. I've never done something like that before. I don't think I've ever really been listening to God in such a way, being so vulnerable and open to what He asked of me.

Seconds after, this line was so beautifully sung to me through the speakers, "But you are not alone in this." Once I heard that, it hit me. Even though I was afraid of the unknown, I wasn't alone and neither was that man sitting by himself, asking for food.

I went to the nearest Subway and got a sandwich and chips. I drove back, but before I walked the food over, I pulled out a little prayer card/icon of St. Timothy, which my friend had just given me on Friday. I placed the card in the bag with the food, and I walked over to the man. We startled each other, then smiled. He shyly said thank you, and I cheerily said no problem. Have a good day.

And I meant it. From the bottom of my heart, I wanted him to have a good day. I wish I could've said something more meaningful or beautiful, but at the time, that was all I could think to say.

I drove away, and in the time between my first "listening experience" and re-entering the car, the CD I was listening to had changed songs. As I left the man behind in my rear view mirror, I heard:

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die.
And where you invest your love, you invest your life.

And I wept.

Not because I was sad, but because I had listened. Because I opened my heart up, and received such grace and love that I had never imagined was possible.

Today's first reading is from the first book of Samuel. Needless to say, I'm glad I went to Mass this morning. If I hadn't heard this, I don't know how attuned I would've been to listening to God today. Or any day.

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am."
Samuel ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me."
"I did not call you, " Eli said. "Go back to sleep."
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
"Here I am, " he said. "You called me."
But Eli answered, "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, "Here I am. You called me."
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, "Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!"
Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

I almost didn't buy a sandwich today, but I'm glad that I did. I almost didn't listen today, but I'm glad that I did.

Speak Lord, for you servant is listening. Finally.

They actually sing the verses that I mentioned earlier in French instead of English, but according to one youtube user, these are the French lyrics:
Dans ces corps, nous vivons (In these bodies we will live)
Dans ces corps, nous mourons (In these bodies we will die)
Où tu mets ton amour, tu mets ta vie (Where you invest your love, you invest your life)
Reveille mon âme (Awake my soul)

Either way, it's too beautiful not to share.

1 comment:

Mary said...

That really was a brave thing you did, and you probably did make his day!
A couple of weeks ago, I was on my way to work and was going through a neighborhood. I saw a person who appeared to be wandering in the road, but then, as I went by, I realized that she was trying to flag down a car. I was by myself, it was dark, and it wasn't in a good part of town. All I did was say a prayer for her. And I've thought about her just about every day since.