10:00am rolls around and I leave my morning class feeling groggy and wondering where I can get a caffeine fix. I’m told you can get a cup of coffee for a dollar in the San Jacinto building. “It’s crappy coffee,” they say, “but it’ll wake you up.” They’re right. Nonetheless, my caffeine craving is satisfied and I settle down to get some work done.
11:00 comes and my stomach starts to speak to me. Breakfast seems like ancient history. Nine dollars in my pocket, I head over to Subway to grab some lunch. A woman is sitting on the sidewalk by the door. As I approach, she looks up at me and asks if I can help her get something to eat. I recognize her. I’ve encountered her there before and passed her by. Today I almost do the same. I wonder if she recognizes me or if I’m simply another face blurred among the hundreds who ignore her each day. In my heart I am convicted and I offer to buy a foot-long and split it with her.
As we wait in line I learn that her name is Amy. She is pregnant and at the moment she is also homeless. She stays in a church that opens their doors to the homeless a certain number of hours each day.
We get our meal, I give Amy my change, and we part. As I walk back to HCC I want to cry.
I will finish my meal and go through the rest of my day at peace because I know that tonight I will eat again with my housemates. Amy will finish her meal and hope that someone else will find enough generosity in their heart to provide her with another. I can complain about a crappy cup of coffee or my lunch being interrupted by a fire drill because I don’t have to worry about finding a safe place to sleep or getting back on my feet so that when my baby is born I can provide for him. I go home knowing I won’t be kicked out when the doors are closed.
I wonder how Amy got to where she is. I wonder who the father is and how he can live with himself knowing he’s left Amy and their child to fend for themselves on Houston’s streets. I wonder if he even knows he has a child…
Today Amy is grateful because she was acknowledged and valued. Tomorrow she will hope and pray for someone to stop, to listen, to try to understand.
Lord, bless Amy tonight.