It was getting cold today, which is really odd because it was hot yesterday.
Around 4p, the weather started to get foggy and noticeably colder.
I drove by a park and noticed a guy lying down in the park and watching people pass by. About 30 feet away from him was a huge party and bbq going on. The smell of warm food filled the air along with the sounds of laughter, and all this gentleman could do was watch.
I parked my car, and walked to a nearby Quizno’s and picked up a cup of hot chicken noodle soup. It was rather assuming because, what if the guy didn’t want any food? But I never seen anyone get angry at having food offer to them. If he didn’t want it, I’d have warm chicken noodle soup for a snack.
I walked back to the park and he was looking at me, probably wondering why I’m walking toward his way.
I smiled and said, ‘hey, I got some chicken soup. Would you like some?’
His face lit up and asked, ‘for me?’
I nodded and handed him the bag of chicken noodle soup and a couple of crackers.
His name is Paul. And he was trying to find his way back to Anaheim, but didn’t know how. He had no place to stay and no warm clothes, just his short sleeve t-shirt and a towel. I was cold with my long sleeve shirt and it was only 430p. It was going to get real cold when the sun went completely down.
But there was nothing I could do for him. If he knew the way to the place he was looking for Anaheim, I would’ve given him a ride. He had no idea how to get there and no idea what bus would take him there. He’s been in Costa Mesa for four days, trying to get back to Anaheim. I asked him why he left in the first place. And he simply said, “people were just saying stuff.”
With nothing left that I could do, I asked him if I could pray for him.
“Sure, if you want to.”
So I prayed, and he cried. And I left, my heart broken. There’s got to be something more I could do than just give him a cup of soup.
I called my wife and asked her if there’s anything she could do to help me with Paul. She was able to find some sweaters and a blanket from her workplace and said that I could pick them up. I went to the shelter she worked at, picked up the stuff along with a couple of bags of food that they had too much of and went back to the park. At first, I couldn’t find Paul, and I thought maybe he decided to catch the bus. I was about to just leave, but decided to park my car and walk around. Just in case. Sure enough, there was Paul walkingn around.
I walked up to him and told him that I have some things that’ll hopefully keep him warm tonight.
He looked at me and said, “But where do I sleep tonight?”
I shook my head and said, “Paul, I don’t know. I don’t know how to help you there. I wish there was something I could do. But try these on.”
He thanked me, even though I was undeserving of his gratitude.
He put out his hand for a shake, and instead, I gave him a big hug and prayed that he’d stay warm tonight.
He wanted a place to sleep. I gave him clothes so that he could stay warm at the park. Something didn’t feel right. Again, I found myself asking, we have an extra bed. Why didn’t I offer that? Which an immediate response of, ‘you can’t do that!’ came flooding into my thoughts. But why not? How come I have drawn a line in how far I go helping people?
I keep asking myself, what’s the right thing to do? I know I could do more. I know that I could always do more. In fact, the day I walk away being satisfied with something I did, is the day that I need sit down and reevaluate my heart. I just don’t know what to do, or what more to do.
I really do hope that Paul stays warm tonight. And I pray he is able to find a place to sleep tonight.
And I hope that God will help me understand what I can really do to help people see His glory through little ole me.
It’s getting cold. I’m sure it’s already cold in other parts of the country.
Please urge your church members to donate warm clothing and sleeping bags to help people who are in need of those things. It’s the least we can do.