Meet Jerry. Jerry is in his late 50’s early 60’s. Jerry doesn't smell very nice. Jerry has cute sunburned cheeks and rough dry hands. His unruly hair stands out from underneath his one hat and two toques. He has a British accent, then I hear a bit of Irish mixed in with a touch of Canadian east coast slang, yup he seems to have it all! “I'm from Ontario you see.” He'd say. Jerry has all his possessions in garbage bags piled onto his bike. Jerry is homeless. So how did I meet Jerry? Well let's rewind eight hours to when I was still at work.
I sat at work looking outside watching the wind get stronger and stronger. I checked the Canadian Aviation Weather Web Site and saw that it was only supposed to get windier. I emailed my instructor saying that I didn't want to fly in that amount of wind and cancelled the flight I had booked for that evening. I'm always bummed when I have to cancel a flight. I was going to have a busy evening anyway though because the worship team I'm on was practicing for that Sunday's worship set. When I finished work for the day I went home had supper then went to the practice.
Worship team practice is always something that makes me happy. When you come together to worship with a small group of people that are all there for the same thing it tends to lift ones spirit! We had a great time worshiping, tweaking songs, laughing with each other and talking about random things. It just so happens that my boyfriend Jeffrey is on the team also! *insert cute sigh* :P After we were done the official practice he asked if we could go somewhere on a little date, and where I wanted to go, McDonalds or Tim Hortons. I wouldn't say I'm overly partial to either one but I was hungry and I don't like McDonald's baked treats so I based my choice off of that and Tims it was.
Upon arriving at the Tim Hortons I noticed a man giving a coffee to a man in a shabby coat but didn't pay any mind. In the town where I live we have a lot of farmers and farmers don't need to wear the latest fashion to go to work with oil and dirt and seed so I see a lot of men in shabby outfits walking around and it doesn't mean that they are poor it just means they are practical. The two men had disappeared by the time I had walked into Tims with Jeffrey. We stood in the line up deciding what we wanted, talking to each other when I noticed that man all of a sudden! He was filling up bigger water bottles/jugs with water from a tap in the kitchen part of the store. I just had the overwhelming urge that I needed to talk to him. I looked at him, then looked away. Looked. Looked away. Then I whispered to Jeffrey “I feel like I need to offer him food or something.” Jeffrey looked up and saw the man for the first time, then looked at me and said “sure. Go for it.” But my feet wouldn't move. I seemed to be glued to the floor! So I just looked again. Aaaand looked away. Then I whispered to Jeffrey again, “babe if I don't do this I won't be able to sleep tonight.” Jeffrey looked at me with a little smirk and just motioned with his eyes that I should do it. All of a sudden my feet started taking me towards this man… this man named Jerry.
I asked Jerry if he was hungry and if I could get him something to eat. He smiled at me and said “oh thank you! A ham and cheese sandwich would be great thanks! And a coffee!” So I went back and ordered him the coffee and sandwich. We talked and ate our food… more like Jerry talked and ate, while we listened and ate. As he was talking and we ordered two muffins… and then another sandwich for him to take on the road…. that's when I noticed something -the people around us. As they'd walk by us or standing in line looking at us I noticed one thing, no one smiled. No even offered a smile of encouragement. They all looked at us three sitting there eating at talking as though we are from another planet. It didn't bother me in the least! I didn't care what people thought! But it made me think and wonder how I react when I see strangers helping a stranger. Do I smile and say hi?! Am I a person who shows love without speaking?
Well after I asked Jerry if he knew Jesus and Jerry seemed pretty eager to get back on the road and started walking to where Jeffrey was waiting for the food we had ordered that Jerry could take with him on the road. Jeffrey handed him the sandwich and he started walking away. I kind of ran after him slightly and asked if I could quickly pray for him. So right there in the middle of Tim Hortons I prayed for Jerry asking that Jesus would show Himself throughout Jerry's travels and for safety and revelation of God's love for him. Out of the comer of my eye I saw this middle aged couple unashamedly staring at us the whole time… not smiling…. just staring. 15 dollars worth of food and a prayer later Jerry was gone.
I asked Jerry that in his travels if he had generally had people be nice to him… he said there had been so many kind people to him in traveling. That made me confident that the little I did would be built on in the future days ahead in Jerry's travels.
There's so much more I could tell you about Jerry but that's all for now. So if I had flown earlier that day I probably wouldn't have gone out that evening because flight lessons always make me really tired and they drain my bank account. And if I had decided that I wanted a vanilla chai frappe then I wouldn't have been at Tim’s. If practice had gone as long as it normally does then I would've missed Jerry. God obviously had his hand in the appointment and I love looking back and being able to see that!
God bless you Jerry! And if any of you west of Winnipeg across Canada see a man with a huge garbage bag on top of his bike and ten little ones hanging off the handle bars stop and say hi! He's a very nice man.