Finding Beauty in Homelessness

Finding Beauty in Homelessness

When I think of the Big Apple, I think of the majestic skyline that appears as I approach the city, of shopping in 5th Avenue, of eating delicious New York cuisine, and of watching the cute guys in suits that flood the streets during rush hour. I usually do not think of those that lie at the feet of skyscrapers, protecting all of their few possessions, most likely holding a card board box summarizing their needs.
Two days ago, my main gals and I decided to head into Manhattan to escape our daily routine and to distract ourselves from the headaches that we encountered throughout the week. While looking for a place to eat dinner, I nearly tripped over a homeless man as we walked by Bryant Park. Not only did he literally make me stop in my tracks, but he made me think throughout the rest of my stay in the city. As I walked away from him, simply leaving him a cereal bar that I had in my bag, I felt unsatisfied. Here I am, a girl with everything I could possible need and much more, merely leaving this man in desperate need a cereal bar that truly wasn’t any kind of a sacrifice for me because I was not going to eat it. I began to wonder about the gaps between social classes and how we got there. We live in such a broken world that it is incredibly overwhelming for someone who tries to make a difference, yet does not see any change.
As I continued to think about that homeless man (over-thinking is one of my specialties), I was determined to figure out the purpose of his suffering. In my mind, no one’s life is a waste. This man made me stop thinking so much about my wants and reminded me how much I am truly blessed– I dread the day I take anything I have for granted. Nevertheless, I knew there had to be more to it. I came to the conclusion that this one man’s suffering, along with everybody else’s around the world, allows me to know God on a different level. With every heart break, whether it is caused by someone else’s suffering, a guy, or a loss, I understand how God feels each time I turn my back on Him and how His heart breaks for me. My desire to help also allows me to grasp a better idea of how God’s love for us works. The homeless man could have rejected my cereal bar, but how incredibly ridiculous would that have been?? I knew he needed it more than anything at that moment, similar to how we need Christ every day, but the decision to accept Him is always down to us.
At the end of the day, I had to settle for the little bit of a difference I made on that man’s life, even though his impact on me was much greater. I realize that I must recognize the changes I am able to make do make a difference by minimizing my world spectrum so that I do not miss the little things that make life a tiny bit better. Now, every time I think of New York City, not only do I think of the things I mentioned above, but I also think of different ways I can bring Heaven into Earth with me, finding beauty in even the darkest alleys.


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