Early one evening, I took exit 3 as usual. Descending off the highway ramp to Route 5, my eye caught the shape of a man. A man clothed in a beige coat with a cardboard sign, displaying the words “please help”. He was really not a man at all, but rather seemed like a boy. A twenty-one-ish year-old boy, a child of God, standing alone with uncertainty in his eyes and the tired look on his face we have all seen.
I followed the road, the laws of the road, and the neighboring vehicles — the boy drifted from view, front to back, my right hand attempting to reach in my jean pocket, my left hand managing a brief wave. The opportunity passed. In the glance we shared between us, I wanted to turn around, maybe get back on the highway then off again, but those moments were gone. I couldn’t and I didn’t.
The best thing I could think of to do was start saying a prayer. “Dear God, I screwed that up, How can I help? Dear God, I send that boy love and peace and warmth to wrap around his heart tonight. I ask you to show me. How can I help?”
That boy, angel on the street, is somebody’s son, brother, uncle, and friend. Maybe a prayer is enough, maybe opening our hearts and our homes for some is appropriate, maybe dropping off a meal to someone who doesn’t have one is what they need, or a kind word, soothing.
Loose bills are stuffed in the dashboard compartment now. Namaste.