I stepped off the bus at the corner of Dundas and Richmond. A crowd of people pressed close as commuters scurried to catch their transfer, I was no exception. 

The air was cold. The kind of cold that makes you imagine there are tiny icicles in your nose. The thermometer read -24 Celsius. I shrugged my shoulders up to my ears and buried my nose into the neck of my coat.  My whole body was trying to turn in on itself to find warmth.

My ear buds were planted deep in my ears and my worship music was cranked. Between trying to escape the cold, staying on schedule and the ear splitting music pulsing I didn’t see her. In fact, I almost stepped on her. 

She was huddled against the exterior wall of the Tim Horton’s coffee shop. From her vantage point she had a view of legs bedecked in winter gear; warm boots, leg warmers. From where she sat she could watch the revolving door as person after person shelled out the $1.60 for their morning caffeine fix. From where she sat she could see gloved hands wrapped around paper cups of warmth.

My first instinct was to look away, to ignore her. I really had places to be, and I didn’t want to be late. I didn’t want to notice the way she was dressed for an autumn day rather than a bitter cold Canadian winter, or the way her hands were red and raw and chapped from the wind. I wanted to bury my nose deeper in my coat and do anything but open my eyes and really see her.

Homeless woman_GT

I started to walk away from her and as I waited for the light to turn green so I could cross the street, All Sons and Daughters began their haunting melody in my ear:

“All the poor and powerless, all the lost and lonely… will come confess and know that you are holy…” 

As that red light changed to green I heard a whisper in my soul, the gentlest of nudges that had me pausing my music and turning back.

I dropped to a knee on the concrete sidewalk, the snow making a crunching sound as I leaned in close. I looked her right in the eye and asked her, her name. “Maggie”* she said as her eyes met mine, “my name is Maggie.” I asked her how she was doing, if there was anything she needed. “Money for a warm drink?” was her whispered reply. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a $2 coin, dropped it in her hand and wrapped her fingers around it. 

I warned her about the cold weather alert and she assured me she had some place warm to sleep for the night. I sat with her for a minute in silence, my hand still holding hers, my heart thump – thumping in my chest. I didn’t want to let go because really, $2? That’s it???  

We said our goodbyes, I reminded her of a city agency that will transport her to shelter 24/7 should she need it. My knees creaked a bit as I stood up and I whispered one last farewell, turned and went to find my bus. 

Deep in my chest I felt the groaning in my spirit, those un-uttered words that rise like a lament. The tears left cold tracks on my cheeks. I felt so helpless, so powerless against such brokenness and I couldn’t help but wonder how my $2 could possibly make a difference.

I put my earbuds back in

                “And we will sing out – Hallelujah.  And we will cry out – Hallelujah.”

With each passersby, each person scurrying to their jobs, their school, their appointments, I whispered hallelujah and in my heart I heard Jesus whisper the same.

“Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.”

As my lament came to an end and the groaning quieted, I heard Him say.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciple…”  John 13:35

I met Jesus that morning, I met Him in the eyes of Maggie. I felt Him in her touch. We broke bread over a cup of coffee and I realized that…

… Love can look a whole like $2.

 

*Names have been changed 

 

Tonya Salomons
Tonya Salomons / Posts / Blog
Tonya is the wife of 24 years to one good man and the mother to Mikayla and Dylan. She is learning that even though her and husband are entering their "empty nest" years the beautiful task of mothering is never ending. Tonya loves Jesus and hunts daily for the gifts of His grace. She writes over at Stone to Heart in hopes of having others recognize the beauty of their own story despite life's circumstances. Tonya and her family along with their two cats and one dog make their home in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
  • Shelly Miller
    http://redemptionsbeauty.com/

    Your inaugural post here at Grace Table is lovely Tonya. Thank you for the reminder to turn around when feeling that conviction rise up. $2 might as well be one million to someone who is hurting and lonely. It makes a difference in the Kingdom.

    August 3rd, 2015 11:15
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    • Tonya

      Shelly – Isn’t that just the way God’s crazy, upside down, economy works? I love that He showed me my $2 was enough. Thank you so much for such a warm welcome here.

      August 3rd, 2015 13:44
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  • Leah Adams
    http://www.leahadams.org/

    Oh my! Love has many disguises. I fear that all too often I fail to see them. This is a haunting and beautiful post. Thank you for the reminder to love.

    August 3rd, 2015 11:15
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    • Tonya

      Leah. Love does have many disguises – I miss them daily. Praying for both of us that He gives us eyes to see and the courage to dive head first into His purpose.

      August 3rd, 2015 13:43
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  • Mary Bonner
    Mary Bonner
    http://www.marybonner.net/

    Tonya, not only is the writing beautiful and so descriptive…it is heart-touching. Thank you for reminding me that love might not look like what I “think” it will or should. Lovely post.

    August 3rd, 2015 11:29
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    • Tonya

      Mary – bless you for your wisdom here today. You are so right – Love is! And it is enough, there is is no “love should look this way.” Hugs!

      August 3rd, 2015 13:42
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  • Meredith Bernard

    Love seeing you here, Tonya and so appreciate this reminder this morning. How many times have I walked passed a soul and even ignored the Spirit’s nudge to stop…too many. Your words have created an image I’ll keep with me. You loved deep here and when we give all we have to give, it’s always enough.

    August 3rd, 2015 12:01
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    • Tonya

      Meredith… I love what you say here… “when we give all we have to give, it’s always enough…” I so often forget that Kingdom work does not depend on me or my resources (thank goodness!) but on God and His resources which are INFINITE!! Thank you for breaking bread with us here today 🙂

      August 3rd, 2015 13:40
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  • Danielle

    Dear Tonya, thank you for being so transparent. The easy thing to do is walk away and center on ourselves. But it takes the Spirit to lead us back to those He loves and wants us to minister to. You brought tears to my eyes because so many times I want to take the easy way.

    August 3rd, 2015 13:30
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    • Tonya

      Danielle – it is a gospel that I need to preach to myself every single moment of every single day because I too would so much rather take the easy way. Hugs to you my friend.

      August 3rd, 2015 13:38
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  • Sandra Heska King
    http://sandraheskaking.com/

    “Trying to fix the brokenness is like trying to scoop out the ocean with a teaspoon.” I wrote this as part of a post that was featured at The High Calling last week. But it’s through the teaspoons and the $2 coins that God can fix the brokenness–not just in others but also in ourselves. This was a beautiful moment, Tonya. I’m so glad you listened to His whisper.

    August 3rd, 2015 15:28
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    • Tonya

      Sandra I love that!! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I sometimes wish that I didn’t struggle so much with thinking that what I have to offer is so inadequate. I’m slowly learning that it’s God in me… not me.

      August 3rd, 2015 16:09
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  • Robin Dance
    http://www.pensieve.me/

    Tonya!!! First…welcome, friend. Your voice fits so beautifully in this space.

    Second…you know what I think ministered to Maggie as much as the warm cuppa? That you dared to look her in the eye and touch her hand. THAT was precious ministry, they eyes and fingers of Christ. I’m so glad you listened to the Spirit’s prompt to LOOK and SEE. xo

    August 3rd, 2015 16:27
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    • Tonya

      Robin! I am coming in for a hug! Thank you so much for such a warm welcome. And for your words here. I once read something by Henri Nouwen and it resonated so deeply with me and your words bring me back there… “Community, then, cannot grow out of loneliness, but comes when the person who begins to recognize his or her belovedness greets the belovedness of the other. The God alive in me greets the God resident in you” I think about how Maggie and I were that for each other on that day.

      August 3rd, 2015 18:07
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  • Lori Harris
    http://loriharris.me/

    I second every word that Robin said. Your voice adds something beautiful to this space. And she’s so right- you gave that woman a look in the eye and a physical touch. That’s a whole lot, friend.
    Grateful for your presence here.

    August 3rd, 2015 19:09
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  • Layla Solms
    http://laylabonniblue.wordpress.com

    looking Maggie in the eye, and touching her hand. i ditto what Lori and Robin already shared. i think we must engage with folks (homeless or not) in a way that shows we are not above or reaching down from our high place, but are able to be at any level… does that make sense? i’m having a difficult time articulating my thoughts this morning. i don’t want to be scattering crumbs from my cozy perch, rather, i want to meet people at their level…

    August 4th, 2015 13:21
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  • Karrilee Aggett

    Oh friend – I love this so much! I have felt this… this questioning of what my meager offerings could do! I am reading Erika Morrisons’ new book Bandersnatch and if you don’t have it yet – you are going to want it, I promise! We just went away for an overnight trip and went to Tacoma… we parked and before we even got out of the car we were faced with the homeless issue in this bigger city. We had the honor of looking a few in the eye, offering what we could, speaking life over them and into them and praying… it felt like not enough. And yet… our God is the God who multiplies and stretches and uses our little and makes much. Love you so! So glad to be in this together…. in this Kingdom living and seeing the way He sees. Lord – increase this ability… this desire… this gift!

    August 4th, 2015 22:22
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  • Kathy/holyvacationqueen.com
    http://www.holyvacationqueen.com

    I always wonder where these people once lived,do they have a family, what they hope for, if they do. I was touched by you meeting her as one human to another, asking her what she needed. No longer was she a statistic, she was a person like all of us with a need. A need, too connect with another. $2 was worth a million for that.

    August 8th, 2015 22:13
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