It’s Bittersweet…


I was in San Francisco yesterday and woke to a call from my mother. In a panic, once again, she had to be calmed down by me. I had received calls from her for the past three days. Miserable at the move to another part of the country, she wanted me to come and get her. I had discussed the idea of her moving and told her last winter, that I was not in agreement. Now, she lives near family, who seems to treat her as if she is a burden.

I am the one she calls when she needs reassurance. I feel helpless when she does this and told her so. I said, “Mom, I’m just back at work for the first time in a long time, and this is very upsetting to me. I promise I will come and get you, but I must work out this schedule first.”

After talking with her for a while, she seems calm again. She tells me, “I just need to talk to you and you make me feel better.” Well, I’m glad,” I tell her, but meanwhile, I’m now stressed. Thanks mom.

I decide to take a walk on the streets of downtown San Francisco. This would leave me more depressed to see all of the homeless. Is it my imagination, or is the homeless population growing rapidly? I watch and listen as two women begin to get into a shouting match on the sidewalk right in front of me. I smell the pungent odor of skunk, which can only mean pot, everywhere I turn. The woman screams back, “As soon as I’m done smoking, I’ll be down there!”

Geesh! By that time, I’m thinking she will be too wasted to even care. I’m saddened when I think of the mission, I was on to find a long-lost friend while on a layover once. I heard she’d been out on the streets and I promised her mother I would try to find her. Even the people at the front desk asked, “Are you sure you want to go down there?” When I’d given them her last known address. “Oh, well, its daytime, it shouldn’t be a problem,” they told me.

I walked to the address given, only to find, it didn’t exist. I assumed she had just given her mother this, to make her feel better.

Alas, as I was checking out of my hotel, I received a phone call from a mutual friend of ours. “I found out where Grace is,”she said. She’s in the hospital and she’s dying of hepatitis.” “Oh, my gosh! I told her I would now have to wait until I arrived home and return. Her and I made plans to fly back when we got the news that she had died.

I hurt for her mother and for her. She was at one time, so talented and extremely intelligent, however, she was enslaved to drugs.

Now I am looking around me and seeing this beautiful city, with the ugliness of every sin you can think of, taking it hostage. As I was walking into a diner, a homeless man held out his paper cup and asked, “Do you have any change? “No man, I sure don’t,” I told him. And not being dishonest at all. I had a couple of dollars, and a card. He said, “Well bless you and maybe on your way out.”

As I sat waiting for my order, I watched him and thought of my friend. Just trying to get by and begging was no longer, beneath her. She needed whatever she was in bondage to, and I prayed for this man, as I would have my friend.

I continued to watch as people just walked by without looking at him. The people leaving the diner, would occasionally put something into his cup, yet without acknowledging him as a person. Almost as if they were tossing out some trash.

Now, after paying my bill, I walked out and put a dollar in his cup. “Oh! Bless you!” He said. I looked at him and asked, “How many people actually look at you? He shrugged, “Not many.”  “Well,” I told him. I’ve been watching and praying for you. Do you know the word tells us to “entertain strangers, for in so doing, you are entertaining angels unaware. Now, who is the angel?” He said, “You!” Well, I don’t know if it’s me or it’s you,” I told him, but I want you to use the money you get in a worthy manner. “Yes, ma’am.” Of course he may or may not. I just felt grief for him. “I’m also going to tell you that the Lord is coming soon.” At this he reached out and gave me a big hug. It was so sweet and the thought crossed my mind, “I wonder when a friend or family member last hugged this man.”

Of course he could have just said anything, however, I believe in the power of Christ and His message to all men. He can heal and deliver in an instant. And couldn’t it be that just maybe, this man is one of the Lord’s angels, as well?

Yes, I’ve walked a tough road, and anyone who chooses to be part of my life, must accept my baggage and walk down this road with me. But everyone has baggage, and if they think that they don’t, I’m more concerned about them.

I walked back and saw a young woman sitting over a styrofoam container, eating whatever was in it, as if she was a dog. Another man walked up and looked into it, as if he wanted some and she covered it immediately. I wanted to cry.

I don’t see these lost souls as any different from men on Wall Street, who have deceived themselves into believing they are their own creator. The only difference is that for these street people, drugs and alcohol is what they use, to medicate their pain and keep them in their self-deception. For others it is money, fame, or anything other than the Lord.

Yes, I’m prepared to continue to go through stuff, and at times, I’m overwhelmed. Then I hear His voice. Reminding me that He had suffered and died, “to destroy the works of the devil.” This is why I remind others, that He is coming soon.

I know that I am one who has experienced more than most, as far as suffering is concerned. But when a total stranger can make me cry, I understand the purpose of the pain.  I will not numb myself and I will not blind my eyes.

It’s my life, my purpose, my calling. “To set the captives free!”

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