I walked into Wholefoods this evening – I get a cup of drip coffee, some organic gummy bears, and a cheese stick for later. I think about how I love this place – how it services my love for great, quality food and appeals to our societies ever growing attempt to stay healthy as the volume of processed, unnatural food increases around us.
I find a table near the coffee stand, pull out my laptop and begin to work. I’m waiting until it’s time to drive to the park down the street where I’ll meet my run club and work with a coach that I paid. I almost thought nothing of this scenario…
And then in walks a homeless man. He sits down at a table nearby. I don’t notice – so I’m just making the assumption this is how it happened. I do notice, however, when a lady at a nearby table (maybe speaking with family), leans over and talks to him. I don’t know what she said. But the man left and, after a few minutes, came back with a container of chocolate milk. The women and man walk over to the coffee stand, and she purchases the milk for him. They both return to their respective tables and go back to their own lives.
Now this man has my attention. He wears a pair of white new balances, worn light blue jeans, a t-shirt, and an unzipped winter coat soaked half way up to the waste from what I assume was from today’s downpour. His hair – dark brown dusted with strands of gray. A beard. And two sad eyes – eyes that reflect pain. He sits here alone in Wholefoods, drinking his chocolate milk, and catching a moment of warmth from the chilled, damp air. For a moment I think he’s about to break into tears.
For a moment I think about how I should talk to this man. But what would we talk about? What kind of looks would I get? I wonder if he feels like no one sees him. I sit there wishing I could help – could I offer him a place to stay for the night? What do I have on me.. in my backpack…that might relieve a little of his discomfort from the weather. I wish I could say I did something… but I didn’t. He walks out the door shortly after.
For just a moment I had a chance – and I sat there – questioning what I had to offer. Honestly, I was probably more questioning what I would look like if I moved from my laptop in a cozy corner and sat down with this man. I prioritized my potential of ruining my appearance over this mans physical and emotional discomfort that he lives day in and day out. And now I write.
And I’m not entirely sure why – except that I feel sad (and a little mad at myself). This isn’t a one-time scenario. I pass tons of people lacking a home every single day. And take no action. I wish I could say I did – but here it is. I don’t.
We are a city full of sad, lonely, cold people. And today I had a realization that it’s not ok for me to sit here and not live out my calling – to love generously. Loving generously does not mean loving when it’s convenient and comfortable. Loving generously means to love unconditionally in all scenarios. To put myself aside and give what I have at that moment. Whether it’s a listening ear, patience, a bottle of water, etc. Sometimes I don’t know what I have to give. But I’m going to show up.
That’s my commitment. When that gentle nudge that I call God pushes me to step forward… I’m going to. I’m really nervous to put this out there. I believe and know that when I commit to something like this, God will provide me the opportunities, no matter how uncomfortable they are. And I will have to make a choice – to take action on my commitment or to, again, sit to the side and prioritize my comfort.
If you feel called to join me in this commitment to love the invisible generously, I invite you to join me! I’m anticipating on failing a few times and feeling uncomfortable… but I hope that as I learn to love more generously, you can too.
I’m Liz Filion – I believe in chasing life outdoors by land & water. I’m a recent transplant to sunny Arizona all the way from the state of Washington. Wherever life takes me, my heart will always be anchored in the evergreens of the pacific northwest. I'm a runner, standup paddleboarder, and avid believer in seeking out adventure.Learn more