Sunday, February 19, 2012

I saw a ghost.

Last night, I slipped out of my hotel room and walked a couple of blocks down to Tim Horton's. Rain was drizzling down, as it had been most of the day. It was cold out, not freezing, but that miserable, wet cold that you get when it rains.

The sidewalks were crowded with people heading out to dinner, out to shows, out to meet friends. And there were homeless people huddled by walls and curbs with their hats out, hoping for spare change.

I stayed out of the way of the revelers who seem to need more space per person than the rest of us, I dodged umbrellas, and I smiled  recognition at the homeless people, but kept walking without dropping any coins.

I reached the warm embrace of Tim Horton's and picked up a bowl of chili and a garlic roll, then stepped back into the rain.

Waiting to cross one intersection, I glanced at the panhandler huddled by the post. He was was sitting on his haunches, knees tucked under his jacket, teeth chattering, a hat upturned by his feet. The hat was sodden and flat and empty.

And, for a flash, less than a moment, I saw my son. I saw Peter shivering and cold and alone. I saw my son who has Asperger syndrome and sometimes finds himself needing help but unable to ask for it. I saw my son who is sometimes ostracized because he seems "odd."

I thought: I should give him money.

But I didn't want him to buy drugs or booze.

I thought, I could give him my chili.
I thought, I could take him back to Tim Horton's and let him choose a meal.
I thought, I could sit with him.

I froze at that last thought and it erased all the other good impulses I had had. Because I wasn't able to do the truly Christlike (or Ghandi-like or Mother Teresa-like) thing, I did nothing.


The light changed, I walked to my room and ate my dinner.

I am so sorry. I am ashamed that, even though I saw my son (my own son!), I still walked by, holding my bag of warm food. What would it take to reach me?
Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! ~ Hebrews 13:2

No comments:

Post a Comment

What did you think? Any comments?

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...