August 17, 2010

Entertaining Angels #2

It was one of those Saturdays. The ones where you're exhausted and tired and weary-to-the-bone and you don't want to see anyone you know nor do anything nice for anyone. One of those days. But, I have a Saturday-morning tradition: a big cup of coffee, a jaunt at the Farmers' Market, and an organic butternut-squash tamale from one of the stands at the market for breakfast.

So, I pulled my cranky-butt out of the house and walked the two blocks to the parking lot which housed the market. I purchased my coffee and was walking through the throngs of people when I saw him.

He wasn't our normal "transient;" after living in this town for the last few years, I've gotten to know who they are. At least, be able to recognize them.

He was tall; long, greasy, scraggly hair hung down from under a grungy baseball cap, baggy t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, ripped jeans, and socks. No shoes.

I know it sounds strange to say he was gentle, but gentleness emanated from him. People moved out of his way and gave him a wide berth, and he would just smile at them as if to say, "I know. It's okay."

He never asked for anything. He just kind of stood off, away from the crowd, watching.

I stood in the line to get the tamale when it hit. That still, small voice that whispers to my soul, and I know that I'm going to be doing something crazy. It happens every time this voice speaks.

"Look back."

Really? At whom?

"I'll show you. Look back."

Alright. I looked back.

"See him?"

Yeah, I see him.

"He's hungry."

There are hundreds of people here. One of them can feed him.

"You're 'ONE.'"

(siiiiiiiiiiiiigh) Okay. I began scanning the menu. So, what do I feed this guy?

"That." My eyes were drawn to the most expensive menu item.

Why am I NOT surprised about this? I grin, knowing that I'm going to buy this man the meal; the voice wouldn't let me get out of it. If I balked or backed out, it would not shut-up. Have you ever tried to silence the still, small voice in your soul? Sounds simple, but the truth is, there is no cacophony loud enough to block it out. Trust me.

Food in hand, I looked back to bring him his meal, but he wasn't there. I felt idiotic; here I was, listening to a voice that had told me to buy a stranger food - like some benevolent schizophrenia.

Nice. Impressive, voice. Thanks so much...

"Acts of kindness aren't always easy, Child. Look better."

I found him behind some booths, in an open area. Determined to make sure he didn't disappear again (and, to make sure he got the food whether he wanted it or not...I was getting stubborn), I made a beeline for him.

"Hi," I nervously called out as I got close, "it's not much, but I thought you might be hungry." I held the plate out to him.

His tired, weary eyes lit up, and his wrinkled, dirty face broke into a wide grin.

"Thank you, Sweetheart," his voice was rusty and slow - like molasses poured over a creaky gear. He reached out to hug me, and I braced myself for the smell. His appearance did not convey an opportunity for regular showers.

To my utter amazement, he smelled like fresh, clean air after a storm.

After his hug, I handed him the food and walked off. Not three steps later, I turned to wish him a good day.

He had completely disappeared.


For some people, their encounters with angels give THEM help...a broken down car in the middle of the night, someone giving them money when they need it.

I feed angels tamales.


Kari said...

Maybe I'm just hormonal, but this brought tears to my eyes. :)

April said...

I know this spoke to me the previous two times that I've heard this story from you. And, guess what happened this time? Yep, it touched my soul. Seriously, woman. You make it entirely to difficult to be bed-bound.

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