possessions, he sat on the median in front of the shopping center.
She parked and walked toward him with a large red object. A red sleeping bag, I soon realized. It was a brisk fall morning in October, one of the first marking the coming cool weather. I sat at the red light watching the scene before me - intrigued.
The middle aged woman in sweats and a ponytail crossed to the median and knelt in front of the man with a gentle and compassionate smile. She gave him the sleeping bag and spoke to him, looking him squarely in the eye. He received the sleeping bag, shuffled his belongings and turned back to her. To my surprise, I watched him wipe his eyes - tears evident even from a distance.
She continued to kneel at his level, kindly speaking to him, and finally joining him in tears. Tears filled my own eyes as I witnessed this humble moment. His pain so evident, her compassion so apparent.
The light changed and I reluctantly continued on my way as tears continued to roll down my cheeks. In that moment I realized, my life had been changed. It was, in fact, one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed.
This simple act profoundly impacted my thinking on mercy ministry and on seeing people. She could have rolled down her window and passed the sleeping bag out to him, she could have easily driven by without doing anything, she could have walked over and handed it to him and walked away, but that's not what she did. She KNELT at his level, acknowledged him as a person, looked him in the eye, spoke words of kindness, listened to him, wept with him, and met a basic need he clearly had.
It was obvious she did not do this for recognition or glory. She saw him. She saw a need. I'm certain it was not convenient or even comfortable and yet she met it anyway.
The compassion that poured from her face and through her actions spoke to my heart. I haven't stopped thinking about it. The hands and feet of Jesus, the heart of the Gospel, a part of the mission of the church were all wrapped into that moment for me.
I wept. I pondered. I shared. I made a plan to be more prepared to serve people in need in my city.
Compassion. The Gospel. Mercy. Loving People.