A John (Part 4)
By now I knew this man would never accept Mama’s ten dollars, but I also knew I’d better not climb back into that car without at least trying. “Since you won’t take food, I imagine money is totally out.”
He laughed, probably at my awkward delivery more than my words. “Yes, money is definitely out.”
Relaxed now – all my offerings had been dispensed and rejected, what else did I have to lose? – I found myself enjoying this man’s company. No longer bothered by the traffic, or the stares, I began speaking as a human being, not a helper of the homeless. “I think I understand,” I told him, “but I have to admit I’m a bit chagrined at being rejected.” As his eyes registered the slightest hint of remorse – rejection had definitely not been on his list of things to do today – I rushed on. “No, it’s okay. It’s was a lesson that needed learning.”
He let that go, instead nodding in the direction of the road, where my bright red Mini Cooper rested. “Nice car you have there.”
Surprised, because I had more or less decided this man was Jesus and who knew messiahs had any interest in cars, I thanked him. At the same time, I cursed whatever gods had given me the means to have such a vehicle when this man didn’t even have a safe place to sleep. “It gets great gas mileage,” I said. As if that somehow made everything alright.
“I appreciate you coming out here.”
“It was a brave thing to do.”
I thought about this. I knew what he meant – I had felt exposed and stupid facing all that traffic. But twenty feet of discomfort is nothing compared to hours of cross-bearing. “I don’t know about brave. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I’m wrong about that sometimes.”
“Not entirely wrong – there is one thing you can do for me.”
I knew where this was going, of course. Had known since this morning when I first saw him. Somehow though, I had hoped to extract myself before Jesus offered me something I didn’t necessarily want. It was too late now, however. I had offered and he had accepted. I had no choice but to suck it up and be gracious.