A true story.
We had run into the man we call Little John on a bench in this park. (photo below)
The story starts many years ago when I was walking my kids home from school.
Poverty is everywhere and Little John is just one of many that I chose to meet, talk to and get to know. John is not a young boy. He was about thirty-five, six-three and well over two hundred pounds when we met.
Stepping in to help and knowing when to step out of the way.
This shot was from 2017 on street view, the park where we talked.
I arrived the next few Fridays to find Juan pacing back and forth on the sidewalk that you see in the photo. More times than not, he had another piece of paper for me with notes written in all directions on it. The first week, he seemed to have been to the laundry. He had managed to shave and was looking much better over these same few weeks. I gave him two hundred this time and asked, "Have you been able to call you son?" That seemed to strike a nerve as he looked down and shuffled side to side.
I was sitting on a short brick planter along side the stairs leading down into the park. He was standing there on the path, fidgeting. He stuttered and said that he had not tried to call his son yet. After a pause, I broke the awkward moment by telling him about a close relative of mine that I had not seen in a long time. We had that in common, people we loved who live in another country.
John, being off the hot seat, had moved his gaze to the bills in his hand, held them like a glass of champaign, and gestured with an upward motion as if making a toast, "God bless you. Thank you. God bless you." He said. That is a common response to charity. He had also said the same thing to my kids on that first day.
I asked John if he believed in God. He said, "Yes, but..." and his eye brows went upward as if he were recalling an unpleasant surprise of sorts, "I am not welcome at the churches..." and he pointed in two different directions. He talked about staying outside of the ones he had been to. I agreed that I had had some bad experiences too. It is important to have common ground.
I told John that I was pretty sure God did not live in a church, pushing out the undesirables. I also told him about a story I had read. There was someone like him, who had very little in life but gained a much higher position in the kingdom after he died. In fact roles were reversed in that kingdom, "Those with houses and cars will be seeking the help of people like yourself." I said. What comes around, goes around, "You and I will not be walking this earth a hundred years from now. Please promise that you will have compassion on me a hundred years from now. Deal?" John agreed and we shook on it.
I did not push or ask him about his family. I don't like to pry. I know about incomplete families and people being geographically separated. At the time that I met John, I had been searching for that same family member mentioned in my first post (same link as above). John and I agreed to pray for one another that day, specifically about the distant family members.
Another look at my life since then shows a previously missing person that I had not seen in over ten years who was later found. We made contact. Subsequent plane trips, reunification and regular phone calls became a reality. It may be a coincidence. There is no evidence but the emptiness of ten years without that person. It could be the result of a simple act of kindness from me to John and many others. I was never the one to bring up the subject of God. It seems that the poor have greater faith that I do. It could be that God pays more attention to the prayers of those who are sleeping in the streets, under bridges, or parks.
It is either coincidence or God that prompts me to help. I really don't think it takes a "big heart" as many of you say. I am not a religious person by any stretch, but in certain instances that involve the realm of the impossible, I will accept the prayers of people in trade for paper currency. I will also humbly raise my eyes to the sky and ask that John be protected and find his way.
Before I left him that day, Little John asked me when I would be back. I assured him that I would be back next Friday. He asked if I had a camera that I did not need. He went on to tell me about having to replace a stolen ID card. I said I would look for it and bring it if it still works.
For my next post, a camera for Little John coming in part five and onward here on Steemit.
Not @done yet. To be continued...