Seattle at sundown. It was glorious, especially for a February day. The kids, 8 and 12 were finally able to get out of the Scion and see the Space Needle up close after 20 minutes of looking for a place to park. Ricky just dropped us off and drove around awhile as we explored and gazed at all the colorful sculptures and buildings. We also got to see a first, Seattle’s notorious Gum Wall. After walking the stoney Post Alley surrounded by chewed up gum, then smelling the fish market smells of Pike Place, seeing quirky shops and hearing the sounds of street musicians trying to make a buck, we made our way back to the car feeling quite accomplished.
Back on Post Alley we’d looped, and as I was walked backward for a few seconds, I noticed a tall bearded vagabond, dressed in layers, the top of which was a bright red shirt that read, “Only God can Judge Me” in white letters. I whispered to Ricky, “there’s a guy behind us that I just saw looking for food in a garbage can.”, to which he raised his eyebrows, “Yeah?…” “Yeah. Maybe we can give him food we have left over from the groceries I packed.” Ricky approached the Scion first, opened up the back and pulled out Angel’s fabric bag decked with happy “Frozen” characters, and half-filled with random dry goods and snack food. He asked me as loud as he could without the guy hearing, “the whole bag?” All I could think to say was “yeah!” before the gentleman was going to pass us by. I didn’t really mean it. I meant we could go through it and pull out several things for him to eat, but by then it was too late, so whatever we’d thrown in that bag in the last 4 days, was now his.
I approached him, “Hi! This is kind of out of nowhere, but are you hungry, by chance? We’re parked right around the corner and have some food if you want it.” He graciously accepted and said that yes, in fact, he was hungry. I asked, “what’s your name?” “I don’t have a name.” “really? How ’bout a street name?” I’d heard from people doing street outreaches that many folks who live out there only go by their nicknames like J-Bird or Bubba. “Nope. I just don’t have one.” I thought, “he must be really tired of telling people that.” I looked at him up close and couldn’t help but notice his skin color. I’ve never seen a person’s color this color. It was like a milkie-brownish gray with a hint of blue. But I didn’t let it bother me. He was what he was. So because I just had to call him something, I asked, “How ’bout if I call you, ‘Man’?” and he agreed. I then asked if there was anything we could pray for him about…health…anything. I’ve noticed that many people will answer this question if you’ve proven yourself sincere by giving them something of value to them already. His eyes widened enough for me to see their golden hazel tone in the sunlight, and he gave me a half-smile, “I…I just want to know what makes God happy.” He tried thanking us for the grocery bag of food but I wouldn’t let him walk away before praying for him in person. He let me take his hand and I thanked God for His generous unconditional love for “Man”. I thanked him also for provision of food and for guiding Man, and finally for revealing what pleases Him, and the courage to go after that.
He slightly bowed, thanked us again, and we watched him walk down the steep sidewalk of Union Street to Western. His lanky body, curly hair, and an 8 year old’s Olof bag of strange snack food.
I still don’t know what all was in that bag. But it’s ok. I’m learning to let go. It’s been a long time learning. And I’m far from the lesson’s end. But here’s what Jesus is showing me now…just like on the hillside when the boy gave him his 2 loaves of bread and 5 little fishes, he gives to us to give again, to trust him to give to us more, so we can give again.
And we are all filled.