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Archive for December 27th, 2018

Though cheesecake is heavenly, and creamy mochas divine, I had no idea that I would be dining with God yesterday.

After purchasing a promised Christmas gift, my daughter and I wandered the streets, enjoying the sights of the downtown of the city. At eleven o’clock on Boxing Day, the streets were quiet, yet still festive.

As we crossed a street to walk through an artfully painted alley, a woman met us, telling her tale of woe … a poor sleep due to fear of a lady neighbour … and imploring us to buy her a coffee …

As my eyes looked behind the woman, dressed in dirty clothes, long sleeves under an aqua-colored men’s polo top, hair pulled back into a not-so trendy-looking ponytail, I noticed the more upscale cheesecake restaurant … one for date night, for trendy people looking for organic fare.

Immediately I said that of course we could buy her a coffee.

What followed was two of the sweetest hours, that rushed by in what seemed like seconds.

We encouraged her to choose whatever she wanted.

It would seem our new friend has a sweet tooth, so not just a coffee, but a mocha, topped with decadent whipping cream. Not just a savoury scone (what we shared), but a slice of mocha cheesecake.

She was careful to remember her manners (she mentioned this a couple of time).

Our conversation had to do with how it is what is on the inside of a person that matters. We laughed. We just chatted … like three old friends.

She told us about how she got from her small hometown of Sault Ste. Marie to Vancouver, with a boyfriend (now long gone). Of how she had never been beat up … until she got out of jail. How she had been clean for two days straight.

She told us about how she used to do competitions at her childhood church. That someone had stolen her Bible. Then she recited verses, long ago imprinted on her mind, her soul.

“Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:19

I started to say, “I bet I know one that you know …”

before I finished the sentence she was reciting John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We continued our chatting, went to pick up some toiletries for her (my daughter jumped in to pay this time), then walked her back to her place.

How do I describe her ‘home’? There was table of clean needles in the entry, the dirt, the clientele with heads hanging (life wiped from their memory) … but it was warm, the manager at the desk seemed sincere, the lady across the hall who had crawled into her bed the night before when fear overtook her mind.

We exchanged hugs, and thanks for the chance to get to know each other.

As we walked the sidewalk to our vehicle, we wondered how she, any of them, might ever get clean in such a place, such a life. The problems are so much more complex than we like to think when we sit in our warm, and safe and color-co-ordinated homes.

I shared with my daughter something that I had once heard.

I am only responsible for the opportunities that God gives me to share in His care for his people. If I am asked for money, or food and if I give it, my gift might be wasted … but it also might not, and that is not my worry. My concern is simply will I respond? Will I give as the hands and feet of God?

As Mother Teresa was known to say, “we cannot all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.”

I may never know if our friend makes it to three days clean, or if she slept safely that night, or if she will ever remember us … but we will never forget her, she has changed us, for we sat across a table from a beautiful soul, and we saw God in her eyes.

Gotta go … I have to mail a Bible to a friend.

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