Making them sandwiches, knowing their first names, asking about their children, remembering who’s having their teeth pulled and is due to get dentures, knowing who needs a hug (nearly everyone), pouring love and respect into our Saturday friends each week has left me a changed person. I do it because I need to be changed.
Once you know names, circumstances, fears, hopes, worries, needs and dreams of the street-living folks we see each week, they become more like family and far less like the nameless people you try to avoid eye contact with on the street. Our similarities far outweigh our differences, our roles could easily be reversed and I don’t ever want to forget that being able to give is a gift.
I pray that I stand each Saturday with my heart exposed, arms wide open, a big goofy smile and love pouring out of every pore of my body. These are folks that I admire and respect, and they are far more than my “Saturday friends,” they are my everyday friends. We greet each other on the bike trail, in the grocery store, in the library and while walking along the beach. Each one has enriched my life in ways too numerous to name.