Mr. Sky

#23. Sky @ Country Club and Baseline, Mesa

I originally drove past him as I was heading back to the office. He was standing at the drive into a Walmart wearing all black and holding a small sign.

He didn’t look like he lived on the streets.

I thought maybe he was looking for a ride. I circled around to get a glimpse of his sign.

It read, “Hungry and Broke”.

I circled around once more and parked.

He looked confused as I approached him and waved.

Not sure if he spoke English, I shouted out, “Good morning!”

“Good morning!”, he says with a smile.

“I made an extra lunch today. Would you like it?”

He took my bag, but asked, “Who made an extra lunch?”

“I did. Everyday I make an extra lunch and look for someone who is hungry. You can have it if you’re hungry.”

I don’t know, I was kind of taken back by his shock. He looked at me like he was surprised I was giving him food, when he was clearly holding a sign that says he’s hungry.

“I have a poem for you”, he told me.

He spoke a beautiful poem about tears and rainbows. I wish I could recite it to you. It was a poem he wrote. I tried to listen to his soft words over the rough engine sounds from the passing cars.

He had some wisdom for me too!

It was about not grieving loved ones once they pass, but rather sitting down to write a long Thank You letter to them to help you heal from the loss.

He has definitely been the most interesting individual I have met.

I wished him well, and gave him a hug.

I hope I inspired him, as much as he inspired me.

Lord, I don’t know Sky’s story, but I know you do. Bless him today and everyday. May the words he speaks be those you have given him. Keep him safe.

What’s Next?

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Finished my last job early today at 11:30, so headed from Paradise Valley to my office in Phoenix. Driving down 32nd street I spot Miss Norma sitting on a curb in a city park parking lot.

As I drive up to her, taking out a curb in my car myself, she stands up to walk away. Can’t say that I blame her considering my relationships with curbs and all, but I call out to her.

“Excuse me.”

Even as fumbling with trying to turn my gps off on my phone, she walks over to me.

“I made an extra lunch today. I was wondering if you would like it?”

Immediately I feel her heart swell.

“Thank you,” she says. “They cut my assistance. They cut my food stamps. I’m living off of $630 a month for rent and that’s about it, but God is still providing.”

She is nothing but skin and bones. I can’t tell how old she is. Life has certainly taken her youth, but she’s still praising God.

“Thank you,” she adds. “What a nice way to start my day off.”

I shake her hand and introduce myself.

Miss Norma, I pray you have a blessed day.

“I already am. Thank you, again.”

One down.

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I drive about a thousand feet from the city park, and I spot an older gentleman wearing a couple of shirts, and a large floppy hat, like what you would see a gardner wear. He’s going through a large trash bin from a trailer park, pulling out plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

Having past the turn in, I circle around the block and head back. I pull up close to the wall so as not to spook him. He doesn’t notice me approach until I’m right in front of him.

Holding up the lunch bag I tell him I made an extra lunch and ask if he would like it. He smiles and nods as he puts his hand out for it.

“Thank you,” he says softly, a whisper really, and high pitch voice that is almost childlike.

At this point I’m wondering if he even understand me because now he is just nodding at me with a gentle grin.

I put my hand up to shake his hand. He extends his arm, and showing me how dirty his gloves are. I squeeze his forearm.

“Thank you,” he says once again.

I get back in my car and proceed to continue driving around the drive to get back out.

Within ten feet I pass two gentlemen who are talking next to their car and then suddenly notice I’m driving the wrong way.

Feeling like a dumb white girl, I stop, make a U-turn and wave back at the two men as I drive pass them once again.

Two down.

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Knowing I have one more lunch to hand out, I take 32nd street all the way down to Washington, instead of going on the freeway. As I’m going under the overpass I notice Mr. Kurt.

Only problem is there is no place for me to pull over. I drive a quarter of a mile to the light and question if I should really pull over now knowing I’d have to walk a quarter of a mile back to him.

I turn right and park in front of the line of cars that have parked along the street to walk into the eatery across the road. I start trekking back to the freeway exit.

As I walk, I notice a makeshift shack tucked closely behind a dirt pile in the open field, with two people moving about.

This must be his home I think, wishing I had another two lunches with me.

As I approach his curb I see he’s holding his sign up to the exiting drivers.

He waves to me.

He is wearing a heavy, black, worn leather jacket and jeans. He has grey, scraggly hair that falls at about his shoulders. He’s rather quite handsome.

As he realizes I’m about to talk to him, he pulls an ear bud out of his left ear.

“How are you?” I ask as I extend my hand.

He takes his cigarette out of his mouth and shakes my hand with his free hand.

“Good, thank you. But very hungry.”

I explain that I was driving down the road and noticed him. Being that I had made an extra lunch today, I thought I would pull over and bring it to him.

“Oh God bless you,” he says.

“He already has,” I reply. “Have a good day.”

I walk back a quarter of a mile to my car.

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As I walk I think to myself, God sees this. He sees where Mr. Kurt lives. He sees how hard some will work to earn a little bit of cash collecting trash. He sees Miss. Norma struggles.

They are his children and he loves them just as much as he loves me. And I’m his favorite, so that’s a whole lot! I’m glad I got to meet them today. I’d like to meet more of them.

So what I’ve learned…

– Pack bananas, not apples. The whole bad teeth thing is real.
– Transcribe my note in Spanish too.
– Get out of my car to interact.
– If they want to talk, listen. If they don’t, don’t take it personally and just walk away.
– This took almost no time to do.

And finally,
– Today I saw the face of God. He’s beautiful and I want to see him again soon and quite often.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat” – Matthew 25:35

What If?

Tonight I went to my Mat Group. It’s a group where we get together to make sleeping mats, like what we gave out for Christmas, to the homeless. We meet every other Wednesday at a local coffee shop.

There are three of us.

Yes, many people have said they want to come. Several have come every once in awhile. But for the most part it’s just the three of us.

I love this group!

It is more than just a time to do something nice for someone else. Honestly, that’s just the excuse I use for us to get together.

Because it is while we pull out balls of plarn and crochet down one side of a chain, turn and crochet back over it again, we talk.

We talk about the past two weeks. We celebrate our accomplishments. Cry over our disappoints. We fume over our frustrations.

And tonight we talked about our WHAT IFs. What if we did more? What if there is something else we should be doing? What if we could be doing something for someone? And what if we’re not?

What are we suppose to be doing? What is our purpose?

I shared that I’ve been having this idea about packing a lunch to give away to someone on the street. Most of my day is spent in my car and I see these people daily. They just wander. I don’t know where they are going or what they are going to do.

It’s funny because I told them I haven’t yet because I wasn’t sure what I’m suppose to do.

I thought about making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But WHAT IF it’s not eaten right away? It could get soggy or the bread could go stale.

I could pack an apple. But WHAT IF they have bad teeth and can’t bite into it?

WHAT IF….?

I stopped myself.

WHAT IF I just did it instead of thinking so much about it?

If I make a sandwich, then it means I can’t come home until I’ve given it away. I will make sure I slice the apples.

In fact, I went home tonight and scrounged around in my kitchen looking for what I had.

I packed a snack size baggie with some cinnamon toast crunch. I grabbed a water bottle from the fridge. I made just a peanut butter sandwich because I was out of jelly, but I cut it diagonally down the center, because that’s how I like my sandwiches. I had a jolly rancher in my car and a piece of gum on my bathroom counter. I neatly folded a paper towel, since I’m out of napkins, and placed it gently inside, with a note, I hand wrote giving a little bit of hope.

That’s what came out of tonight’s Mat Group, other than the three sleeping mats that are currently in production. In fact, I went ahead and made three.

One for each one of us.

Someone, well, three someones, will be having lunch on God’s dime, tomorrow.

And WHAT IF I didn’t get to see it? WHAT IF it never happened? I’ll write tomorrow to let you know what I might have missed!

Until then, what is your, WHAT IF?

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