Last week, David and I were walking downtown browsing  some of our favorite {or should I say ‘my’ favorite} shops. We had plans to meet up with Steve and Matthias for lunch and we had a little time to kill. I thought about grabbing a Starbucks or browsing through the bookstore, but then I saw a young man about 20 years old holding a sign saying, “Hungry, please help.”

“Perfect!” I thought. I know just what to do with my extra 15 minutes! I pushed David’s stroller towards the young man and asked him, “Are you hungry? I’d be happy to grab you a chicken burrito from Chinos.”

“Actually” he replied, “I am hungry, but I’d prefer a burrito from Chiptole.
And instead of a burrito, can I get a bowl?
And instead of chicken, I’d like carne asada.
Also, one last thing, make sure there is no lettuce and no tomato.”

By the time he finished giving me his order I was smiling from ear to ear and almost laughing. I’m not saying it was right, but in my head I thought, “Well gosh, I guess sometimes, beggars can be choosers!”

“Okay” I replied, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As I walked towards the restaurant I was beginning to regret this whole thing. I didn’t want to walk over to Chipotle. There was probably going to be a line. And anyway, who did he think he was, giving me a list of demands? But I sighed and walked on, I’ll just get the food I thought and if his heart is wrong, I’ll let God be the one to work that out.

David and I quickly returned with his lunch and a bottle of water. Since we still had a few minutes before meeting Steve and Matthias I asked him to tell me his story. His story was tragic but vague and he asked a few personal questions about David. Before we parted he told me he had worked with special needs kids in High School and actually offered to babysit if we needed help. “Yeah, um, that’s not going to happen.” I told him.

David and I walked away, leaving him with his carne asada bowl and me with a lot of things to think about. I wonder, do I have any right to be more demanding than he does? And If I’m going to serve the homeless, shouldn’t I be willing to get them food they prefer, even if it means walking down the street and waiting in line?

The interaction showed me that maybe my heart is harder than I thought it was. And if I truly want to serve, I should do it with a soft heart. I don’t need to understand all of his motives, I just need to be faithful and let God take care of the details. Sheesh, I’ve got a long way to go!

You can learn more about the shine project here. And you can read my first post about showing some kindness to Steve here. PS I’m doing them a bit out of order–hope you don’t mind! Join us in spreading a little love to others!