So much need- everywhere. Crying for attention- calling from the alleys and begging on the roadsides. How do we respond to it all? How can we acknowledge the need without becoming slave to trying to meet all the needs in our broken world? Sometimes it’s in the little things. Like the teeny tiny things that no one stops twice to think about. The moments that are slipped in our ordinary and mundane life, that unless we do them with great intention, we miss the moment.
An old woman, stooped and bent from years of hard labor. She’s pushing a cart of recycling down the street. Barefoot, her feet have developed thick callouses, her greying hair is buzzed short, pieces of cloth fall over her shoulders for a covering from the sun. Her eyes are empty and sad. Her face worn and wrinkled from the many many difficulties she has endured. Our eyes meet for a brief second and I smile. Instantly a beautiful smile breaks across her tired face-those wrinkles now twisted into a radiant glowing smile. She is made in God’s image. She is precious in His sight. And I can’t forget her.
A tiny little human- running to stay caught up with the rapid steps of her caregiver. My attention is drawn to her hair, it’s matted and tangled. Her school uniform once white and starched is stained and yellowed. They sit down close to me and her caregiver immediately begins combing through the tangles. As she combs she picks out a few lice, crushing them between her fingernails. Two tight little pigtails appear. The little girl reaches up, feeling them carefully with her hands. Her eyes meet mine. I smile. She smiles tentatively, her large black eyes taking me in. I can’t help but wonder, ‘is she safe?’ ‘where are they going?’ She is beautiful, made in God’s image, and precious in His sight. And I can’t forget her.
His voice is loud above the rest of the kids. He is trying to keep order above the ruckus and the noise, taking on responsibility that is far beyond his years. A scar is evident across his cheek and tells a story- unknown and unheard- but still a story. He carries the world on his shoulders. He’s too tough to need Jesus. He tells me that the ghosts come to his room at night, he fights them off alone, by himself. He’s not scared, he says, but the glimmer of fear in his eyes tells me another story. He’s just a little boy. I watch as his black eyes flit about, ever watching and alert for the first sign of trouble in the neighborhood. Our eyes meet in the midst of him telling me of some happening. I smile. He smiles a sheepish and cheeky grin. He is a child of the Father, made in His image. He is precious in His sight. And I can’t forget him.
She is out working on the streets tonight. I don’t know her story. Maybe she was tricked. Maybe it was the desperation for survival and a little money to send back to her family that pushed her into an industry that no one ever wants to be in. Some write her off immediately, thinking that it’s her ‘choice’ to work where she is working.** As I approach her on the street, she watches, curiously. I smile, and she lights up into a beautiful smile, her face relaxes. I offer her a rose. She picks a white one. “It means gentle,” she tells me. She smiles again and says “thank you.” My heart hurts. She is beautiful. She is a daughter of the Father, made in His image. She is precious in His sight, and I can’t forget her.
**Exodus Cry reminds us, “according to one study, only 1% of those in prostitution are there by choice.” They also say, “prostitution is the choice of those with the fewest choices.” Think about that next time you see a prostituted woman, and at very least, breathe a prayer for her safety. (okay I’m totally off track- more on that at a later date.)
The ‘stories’ above are taken from various interactions, and do not necessarily reflect one person.
There is one thing I want to remember in all my interactions with people. That each one is created in God’s image, chosen and loved, and precious in His sight.
And I don’t want to forget them.