Yesterday, I went to 5pm mass at St. Augustines, a church right across the street from Waikiki. I arrived late, and there was a man sitting near where I park my bike. I actually heard him before I saw him - he was singing some Christmas carols. He looked really nice. I mean, he looked homeless - no shoes, some scabs on his legs and arms, and he had a couple of bags. He wasn't - forgive me if this is rude - but he wasn't gross looking. Don't get me wrong, I like talking to homeless people, regardless of what they look like! But, I noticed right away that he looked like he could have been handsome when he was younger. For some reason, I am attracted to meeting homeless people. NOT attracted in that way, but something in me loves to hear their stories and their experiences and their wisdom. I just really love it!
I walked past the man, smiled at him singing, and went into church. During mass, I kept thinking of the man. I wanted to buy him dinner. I only had $10, which isn't much in Waikiki, but I figured it was worth a shot. By the time mass ended, however, my mind was on other things. I barely even noticed the man when I was walking back to my bike. As I hopped on my bike, he asked me what my shirt said, and we started a conversation. That conversation lasted an hour and a half. I wish I could remember all that we talked about, all that I learned. Brian's story was amazing. God prevented him from killing himself, so he completely surrendered EVERYTHING he had for God. For the past few years, he has lived on the streets of Waikiki, sharing the Word of God with people on the street. He has a hard life, I'm sure. He sleeps on the sand. But he is SO full of joy. His biggest worry was that he didn't have a quiet place to read. That is his biggest worry. Not that he is homeless. Not that he is probably disrespected daily.
Brian sees God in EVERYTHING. He thanks God for being stabbed. He says he learned to draw closer to God through that. While we were talking, and he would say something profound, a car would honk. He always pointed that out. He'd say, "See? Honk! That's God." One of the cool analogies that he told me was about being warm. When you first go out in the sun, you are really warm, and you probably tell whoever you're with. "Wow, it's so sunny and nice out. I'm hot!" After you're laying on the beach for a while, though - you sort of get more used to the brightness and warmth. You might still be hot, but you don't talk about it every 2 seconds.
That's how it is with God. Maybe at first you are so overwhelmed and excited about God's love that you tell everyone. Or at least you marvel about it with your closest friends. After a while, you might start to get used to it or take it for granted. I don't want to ever take God's love for granted!
There is so much more I could tell you...but I don't know how boring this is for everyone else. One thing that Brian repeated about a million times is that we are all brothers and sisters and that we are all connected. Please, just always remember that people are PEOPLE. Even if they don't have a home. Don't feel that they are just lazy, or just born unlucky. Don't walk by them and turn your head the other way. Don't be scared of what you don't understand.