The other day I was buying a homeless friend some breakfast. While we were waiting at the counter I was making small talk and I said, “So, Mike, what does your day look like?”
I immediately regretted the question.
Mike lives in the woods. What if I just made him feel bad? Obviously he did not have anything on his “agenda” for the day. What could his calendar look like: wake up in the morning and not have food… then, not clean the not house… don’t forget to not pick up anything from the store…
Mike’s answer surprised me. He had a full day planned. Doctor, tests, look into a job, see some friends, take care of a buddy’s dog. He filled our small talk quota with details about his day.
It was then that I realized what a small-minded, arrogant jerk I really am.
I assumed Mike was fully employed at being homeless.
I assumed he was less of a person because he did not have a key ring.
I assumed he was helpless because he was unbathed.
I assumed he was foolish because he had not made the exact same choices that I had made. (many of which I now look at as foolish)
Instead, Mike had more to do today than he could get done.
Oh wait, maybe that was me that had too much to do.
Maybe that was why I had never asked a homeless friend what his day looked like.
Maybe I should take more time out to do that.
Maybe they are human like me.
Jesus, grant me the integrity to see people as people and not as status. Humble me enough to remember that I am not at the top of the food chain, but that You are.
And, please give me ears to hear the people that I don’t value, maybe nobody values, as treasured friends.