Small Steps of Friendship
I’ve known this homeless man for a couple of years. He goes to jail. And then, he is released. So, he’ll turn up. Only to, disappear again.
Usually, I seek him out, speaking to him first as he has never approached me, until last week. On my outing the other day, he stood across the street as I visited with others from the shelter. Then after a bit, like glue, he suddenly stuck to my side as if he were a shadow, following me. “Hi, Ms. Pam.”
“Hey you. So where have you been?”
His eyes were clear. His voice crisp, but low. He shared his heart, lingering and talking, and even grinning. He told me of getting arrested for smoking weed. How he believed police officers watch him.
He also told me of his days in a cell. Of days wondering about life. Of freedom, and how it feels when he leaves jail. He wiped his hand across his face. “I need a good shave.”
“Maybe a little grooming is needed.” I laughed, pointing at the beard attached to his neck in uneven patches.
Steps Toward Knowing Him
He hung closer and walked with me, helping me pass out goodie bags for friends who were thirsty or hungry. He even encouraged a friend to come over. To chat. To obtain some snacks. And this led to my praying for his friend. And for him.
Later, as he walked away, the cigarette between his fingers must have scorched his skin. “Ouch!”
I called to him. “You know, those cigarettes are legal. The other kind you spoke of, not so much.”
“I know. I know. I need to keep my nose clean.”
“The clean you need and that I need, well, that comes from Christ. He gives new desires with a new heart.”
My friend waved. “I know. I know.”
“Wouldn’t it be great to meet an officer and not be doing anything illegal?”
“I know. I know.” He didn’t turn around, but he was listening.
So I added, “I know Jesus loves you. And He is calling to you.”
My friend flicked his cigarette to the ground. “I know. I know.”
Jesus, The Friend We Need
Goodness, that was the most we’ve ever talked, and “I know” we are on our way to being real friends.
But mostly I pray, that he becomes a follower of Christ. That he hears the call on his heart. That grace falls into his life! That Jesus will save him! Because the “clean” he experiences in Christ is life changing! Worth crossing the street for! Worth surrendering for!