So this morning Mike was supposed to come by at 10am. We met Mike yesterday walking down the alley while we were eating lunch outside on the back stoop. Mike is a young dad and living in a shelter downtown, not to far from our house. He was looking for work around people's yards to earn a little extra money to help pay for diapers. He also wondered if he might have a bottle of water.
Recently I have been praying for God to provide opportunities for us to serve the people around us. I heard a wonderful speaker talk about taking your kids gifts and turning them into blessings for others. Allowing them to serve others gives them a purpose, a God given purpose with their life. I have been praying for more wisdom in this area.
All of a sudden, here comes Mike right into our backyard. (we invited him in after he called me madam.) I didn't even have to leave my house, and here was someone who needed us. Needed a little assistance.
Well, we were getting ready for nap time and right after that was swim lessons, so I couldn't use his help yesterday, but I asked if he could come back tomorrow. He promised he would. That he wanted to earn his money, however he did some money for diapers today. I had just pulled cash for our groceries that day. I haven't done this in months, and this was my attempt to get us back on good financial ground. Funny how I would have cash this day, where truly, I never cash. I went in and got him $10 and instead of a disposable water bottle, I gave him a real one. If you're gonna spend your days out walking all the time looking for work, than you could use a real water bottle.
We introduced ourselves and my kids were really excited to see Mike today.
He didn't show.
We went outside and started doing yard work and we waited. The kids kept asking where he was. I said I wasn't sure. But either these two things happened:
1. I totally got played. (My husband would agree with this statement.) Some kid walking around looking for money, now he has a water bottle and $10 extra in his pocket. He's probably laughing at the stupid lady who was dumb enough to fall for his trick.
2. Something happened to Mike that kept him from coming. Someone stole the money I gave him. He got another or better job offer for this morning. His kid is sick and he couldn't leave him. He got sick. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got into trouble. Couldn't find extra money for the bus.
I don't know. But you know what, the truth of what really happened doesn't matter. How I think it happened matters. If I believe I got played, than my trust in strangers and humankind in general will be jaded. I will be put off. My heart will be hardened. I will always judge and think the worst of strangers. I won't be able to trust anyone, thus leaving me full of anger and resement.
If I believe that Mike was ligit and something did really happened to him. Then my heart is softened. I pray for Mike. My kids pray for Mike. I start looking for opportunities to help others like Mike. My heart remains open to the opportunities that God puts in front of me. Literally. I can still have hope in mankind and God's ability to love all people.
See the reality is, it was only $10. Big deal. I have been blessed so much by the kindness of family and friends, that the least I can do is offer up $10. Because $10means something to Mike, but it also means something to me. It makes sure I am aware of people around me. It makes sure I continue to pass the blessing on.
I really don't care if I'm being laughed at by Mike and his friends. I am kind of bummed if I got played. But mostly, I hope nothing bad happened to Mike. I was looking forward to getting to know him. To hear his story and what happened that landed him at the homeless shelter. I'm mostly sad about the potential of meeting a new friend and expanding our ministry.
Lord, wherever he is, I pray that Mike encounters you and you move him from the place he's in, to a place of peace and healing and hope.