He sits by himself, mumbling. Occasionally he lifts his head to yell at whoever passes by, asking for change. He's drunk. Most people ignore him. Some offer the courtesy of informing him off his laziness. Yesterday, he stood in the middle of the road and screamed at the morning commute parting around him.
What if I told you he used to be a lawyer? What if I told you he used to have a big home and a loving family?
And what if I told you that the day that that all changed was the day his daughter was killed in a car accident. What if the reason he sleeps on sidewalks and roots through trash is because when his daughter was stolen from him he couldn't cope with the pain and turned to alcohol.
What if I told you that what he needed was not a job, or a home, or even a church. What if I told you that he needed to grieve. And he needed healing.
What is your story? Where do you come from? What have you been through? Is the reason you don't trust me because your dad left you when you were three? Is the reason you talk about yourself so much because nobody has ever taken the time to listen? Do you fake yourself because you're afraid I won't like who you really are? Do you stand in the street and yell at me as I drive by because once upon a time somebody hopped into a car after a night at the bar and killed your daughter?
What's your story?
Will you be patient with me when I snap at you because panic attacks are robbing me of my sleep? Will you forgive me when I am rude to you because my heart is full of only stress?
Everybody has a story. And I'll try to love you, if you try to love me.
[Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. ] - 1 John 4
-Chadwick, CSM Toronto Summer 2011 City Host