I noticed him when he walked in and I turned up my nose, like you do when there's a stench in the air. I recognized him from around the city - a wobbly, crazy, panhandler who walked up and down the street drunk and sullen, dirty and probably smelly.
From across the room in my folded chair, I kept an eye on him because he was near the washing machine where my blue and white patterned, t-shirt fabric, king-sized bed sheets were going through the rinse cycle. And, I really like those sheets.
When the time came to put my things in the dryer, reluctantly, I made my way over to where he was. On top of my machine was a dirty hand towel and a bar of soap. Irritiated, I wondered what was he doing? As I moved closer, I steadied myself for the stench of alcohol and homelessness.
But, there was none.
Smiling with a few teeth missing, he said to me, "Hello" and quickly removed the things from the top of my machine. "I'm sorry to be in your way," he said. I noticed that he was shaky, but not like a drunk --- more like a man in the early stages of Parkinsons Disease. In the machine next to mine, he had put in a small load, had let the machine fill with water and was hand washing his meager belongings with a bar of blue and white striped soap. The water was the color of mud.
Ashamed by my thoughts, I smiled weakly, nodded politely and quickly carried my nice, clean bed linens over to the dryer.
With closed wings, he was beautiful, but ordinary.
"Suppose someone comes into your church meeting wearing nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor person comes in wearing old, dirty clothes. You show special attention to the one wearing nice clothes and say, 'Please, sit here in this good seat.' But you say to the poor person, 'Stand over there,' or, 'Sit on the floor by my feet.' What are you doing? You are making some people more important than others, and with evil thoughts you are deciding that one person is better." - James 2: 2-4
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