On a recent family vacation to BC, we witnessed polite but dishevelled panhandlers plying their trade amidst the more decidedly destitute segment of the population, all passive against the throb of the downtown core of that province’s largest city.
In front of the exquisite old railway station and among the edgy new commercial buildings, we found them.
Similarly I saw disadvantaged people in Cincinnati and Shreveport.
They seem to stand out, as icons of another world in which, save for circumstances and choices, we too could share. Perhaps it’s the starkness of winter in the cold and grey inner city landscape that makes them more noticeable.
The homeless are systemic to the “human condition” for a variety of reasons. But few are on the streets because they want to be.
Some are victims, sometimes avoidably so. Many are mentally or emotionally challenged.
However, the vast majority of our street friends silently long to engage in an authentic relationship with someone who cares.
We help simply by lending an ear or sharing a kind word during short encounters on the streets of our nation’s capital.
It takes only a few moments, yet it soothes an ache that only those of us who understand and are willing can relieve.
God’s love, as demonstrated by the kindness of human contact, inspires hope.
Simply being a small part of a less fortunate person’s day can make an immeasurable difference in their lives.
1 Corinthians 14 verse 13: “Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.”
Peter, Street Outreach Volunteer