At first, when I saw him, it made me scared and uncomfortable - I've had more than my fair share of bad experiences with Christians, especially the Evangelical and Pentecostal flavored ones. So I'd duck my head and make a wide, cautious circle around him to avoid any chance of being handed a pamphlet
One day, it dawned on me. "He must really love Jesus, to stand here, every day, holding this sign." I quit walking so far out of my way to avoid him, and then, I started whispering a prayer- just "God, you know him. Be with him." I started having crazy visions of asking him to grab a cup of coffee with me. A couple weeks ago, as I was running late to a meeting in the library, I screwed up enough courage to make eye contact, and smile at him (yes, I am that much of an introvert). He smiled back, and the smile lit up his whole face- somehow, I knew he was just glad he had been seen.
I don't know how this story ends. All I can say is that I hope, one day, to offer him that cup of coffee, and to ask him about his story. I'm not the sort of person who talks to strangers easily - my friendships begin cautiously and slowly. But this man loves my Father, and that makes him part of my family - this crazy, mixed up family that is the church, holy and catholic (yes. Lowercase c here). That knowledge is changing me.
And that's all I have to say...that I am haunted by this man, who looks crazy, but who I know deeply needs God's love. And that I'm learning how bad I am at simply giving God's love to others. I have come to see Jesus in him....and so far, I've been able to do nothing but cry and pray.