They were standing on the street, just at the corner of where the freeway off-ramp and the main thoroughfare come together. There was a little piece of land there, not much, just enough for two adults and two small children to stand. Their clothes were old, and very worn, but the children looked clean.
The adults had a look of defeat on their faces. Their bodies were slouched with the weight of many things upon their shoulders. This married couple, well, it is easy to assume they are married, but assumptions are not always what they seem. Tricky to make those assumptions. This man, and this woman, probably had big dreams at one time. They probably had dreams of success and prosperity, a beautiful roof over their heads and the ability to provide good things for the family. Expectation is such a wonderful gift – except when it goes wrong and expectations soon give way to a reality of despair. What now? Is there really any hope for a different future, or will life always remain the same? One day looking like the next and the next until the calendar is meaningless and the only barometer of time passing is the increasing hunger within ones being.
The children looked as though there could still be that glimmer of hope within them. It had not yet been snuffed out. God bless them. They were no more than babies. In childlike fascination and wonder the possibilities of life still exist for them.
The light changed to green and it appeared the traffic was at last going to be able to move forward. People moving on to what was next in their already over “agendad” schedules. Much to do, much to accomplish, much to rush about causing ones anxieties and stress level to move closer to the breaking point. Dinner to make, laundry to do, and then off to do some shopping, buying those things that will be forgotten before they are ever worn out or go out of style. There was a sale on at the Mall the billboard on the overpass above this family advertised. The picture of a family on this billboard was in stark contrast to this family on the freeway off ramp. But, the traffic did not move.
Was this Dickens like family for real? Were they really in need, or were they just trying to scam people? No, maybe they should be given the benefit of the doubt. But then, you never know. One reads stories all the time about people who just stand out there and scam people for money and then laugh under their breath when the cars drive away. Somehow, this didn’t seem like that.
The light was taking forever. It was hot. People in their fancy cars with their air-conditioning on super high were getting restless. Suddenly sirens cut the still air. Must be an accident or other emergency that was causing the delay. Someone may be hurt, or in peril. Say a quick prayer for them, unknown as they may be.
A few people reached out and handed the family a few dollars. This little family looked so grateful. They must be in earnest. No one is that good an actor. Even in this town.
On the bus bench near the corner was an advertisement. No, it’s not actually an advertisement. It’s the words of Jesus saying, “For I was hungry and you gave me no food.” Was that sign there all along?
Still, the cars were not moving, even when the light went green again and then back to red. We seemed stuck in this place, no way to get off this freeway off-ramp so we were just going to have to wait it out.
Off in the distance there is the sound of church bells chiming. Several people in near-by cars hear the chimes and react. Are any of these people stopped at this corner church people? But we are not in church right now. Still, what about the true purpose for good that should be the core of ones life? Being a church person does not stop at the church door. It does not stop with our church congregation. Being a church person doesn’t stop at all.
The young family are the only ones with any patience it seemed. They had lots of time. The sound of the church chimes seemed to have gone un-noticed by them. And that scripture on that bench. The sunlight now shining on it more brightly as if a spotlight is drawing attention to it. At last the rest of the words on the bench can be read: “Then Jesus will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”
At last the traffic is moving and rushing by the young family on the freeway off-ramp.
Rev. Jefferson Beeker
We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful