the windy city has turned white today. I looked out my boss' window and it took me awhile to realize that the fat, white puffs I was seeing were actually winter's first appearance. I am certainly not ready - this is surely a false alarm!
Last night we endured the wind and made it to the famous Cheesecake Factory for dessert to celebrate (early) my birthday with friends. We all (12) squeezed into a booth for 7 and had a quite a time choosing from the overwhelming and delicious menu. I ended up going plain jane - original with strawberries. My plate came complete with Happy Birthday lettering and a candle - how special! It rivals my own family tradition of the special plate (it's really just a maroon plate, but only the birthday child got to use it, so it had much significance!), but doesn't quite make the cut. My birthday plate always had lima beans, which is an ingredient I am quick to suggest for an innovative new cheesecake recipe. My friends are great - I love each and every one. Even though I see them less and less, I love who they are and their joy for life and fun.
Now to my story about Lonny... I know this is going to sound sketchy regardless of how I write it, so I must preface it by saying that I do sincerely believe the Lord directed our conversations, meetings, and I felt truly blessed to have met him.
On Saturday, as part of my weekend ritual, I woke up extra early and set out for my day. I had already been in and out of the apartment several times, but as I headed off to find a place to read, I ran into this man on the corner who was asking for 30 cents (I later found out that he had calculated that if he asked 15 people for 30 cents he could get a bus pass).
Well, it’s getting a lot easier for me to stop and talk and I had time. So, I found out his name was Lonny, and he was trying to get up North to see his daughter. After we had talked for awhile I had determined he wasn’t drunk and I didn’t think he was trying to play me… so we kept talking. I told him I’d buy him a bus pass and we started walking there and he mentioned he was hungry. Dunkin’ Donuts was conveniently across the street and I said “order anything you want.” See, I had learned from another homeless friend Vera about this. Why shouldn’t they have the same privilege of a full menu that I do? Why should they have to eat my scraps and be thankful? (Another soap box another time)
Anyway, in this whole process we starting talking about the Lord and I gave him a tract with John 14:6. He’d just gotten out of the drink (jail), but he appeared to be very familiar with God’s promises. We talked some more and I sent him on his way, saying we’d meet again if God intended and I would pray for him. Well, we did meet again that same day. Things didn’t turn out so well at his ex-girlfriends and he needed some more bus money to see his brother to get some clothes.
We had a long conversation and we were able to speak specifically about Christ being my Savior and Treasure. I could tell his heart was soft for the message – others had gone before me planting and watering and I was watering again. I bought him another bus pass and sent him to his brother’s, but not before I told him about a Christian men’s shelter where he should go. We decided that I’d meet him there last Tuesday after work.
I did pray for him and still do, but I didn’t see him on Tuesday. I told him he’d know where to find me – we met on the same street corner both times. I feel so blessed to have met him and do pray that he is finding his way – The Way. This was a precious thing and one of the best last weekend.
I have been reading John Piper and, without getting out of control, I am starting to understand why talking to people gives so much energy – it’s our food. When Jesus was talking to the woman at the well and the disciples came back he wasn’t hungry because He had been eating the food of the Father – speaking and sharing about His glory. That may not make sense because it’s so abbreviated, but it’s making sense to me.
Okay, I will write more later – because today is my b-day, but I wanted to finish up these thoughts before I move on.