It's not every day I am in a big city. So being in Denver for a friend's wedding provided for me the opportunity to be around many different people from all walks of life. I've always been fascinated by people-watching.
After I had lunch with some UD friends here, I decided to get some coffee and read a book. However, I wanted to be outside since the sun was shining and the weather was very pleasant. After sitting at a chess table for a while and trying to avoid eye contact with the homeless, Jeremy approached me and asked if I had any pieces.
At first I thought of drug pieces or gun pieces, then I realized I was sitting at a chess table. Haha. Jeremy shared most of his life story with me and said he had been homeless for the first time starting a week ago. He said it's been a trying experience. I asked him some questions about his life, his family, his work, etc.
Without him asking I decided to give him some money. I struggle giving away money like that, but it felt like the right thing to do.
|Debbie, Me and Jeremy playing chess in Denver, CO|
Debbie, sitting at the table next to us, asked if any of us wanted to play chess. Jeremy played with Debbie and I watched. Debbie, from what I could tell, has hitchhiked around the world. She is now homeless. She's originally from Akron, Ohio.
A short time later, Steve came by. Apparently, he is really good at chess and is very humble about it. He seemed to have a good head on his shoulders. He had a thoughtful and wise quietness about him. He is homeless, too.
It was a good experience to immerse myself with them instead of passing them by. I know not everyone has this opportunity, but it was a good experience. I didn't necessarily put myself in this situation, but I happened upon it, and I'm glad I did. I have so much more to share about their stories, but I will save that for another time.
We've been hearing a lot from Pope Francis about engaging the poor ... those poor in spirit, finances, humor, emotions, family, food, etc. Regardless of your beliefs, I think we were created to be in communion with others. For me, it was very meaningful to be with my UD friends this morning and then to connect with new friends "on the street" this afternoon.
I told my new friends that I could learn just as much from them that I could in a book. I told them I appreciated their company and conversation. We can learn a lot from one another and inspire one another. I think that's what Pope Francis understands and is teaching.
I hope my interactions with people from all works of life demonstrate to them that I care, that there is hope and that because I am a Christian -- that they believe God cares. I hope they are inspired to pay it forward and to spread a bit of hope.
I can't help but think God created this beautiful day for my friends to get married and to also lead me to enjoy my coffee outside in order to meet some friends.