In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king…

Quick diary entry on a perfect Saturday morning in August…

The Farmers’ Market sets up a half-block south of us every Saturday from April into November and it’s a delightful place to spend part of a morning, with food and music and everything else you might shake a stick at. When we first moved here in 2013 we trekked through the alley most Saturdays to see what was spread out for sale, but soon it was just Kim who went… too much walking for me. This morning I included Lawrence Farmers’ Market in my random strolling and it felt good to get back. It was still cool out at 8am and the mounds of fresh fruits and vegetables looked like jewelry in the sun’s rays. A couple of gentlemen were playing zydeco, there was a young man coaxing music from an outsized accordion, and other small entertainments here and there, some planned, some not.

I walked the whole lot, checked out all the tents, bought a fat red tomato, and was headed home when I noticed a man holding a cardboard sign that said I NEED YOUR HELP. He was standing next to the street, at one of the exit points of the market, and looked bereft, to say the least. I stepped behind a trailer, found the loose bills in the bottom of my shopping bag, which amounted to only three, and turned back toward the exit, following a young couple and their two kids to the sidewalk. The man with the sign said good morning to them, a hopeful smile on his face, but they didn’t acknowledge that he was there. I was next in line with my scraped-together offering and I held his gaze as I said “Good morning. This is all I have on me right now, but I hope you’ll have a good day.” We both teared up a little as he responded “Thank you so much. God bless you, you too,” never taking his eyes off mine.

I know life is real shit a lot of the time and we can’t help burrowing into what we’re truly required to deal with, but how awful if we make people feel invisible in that process. Peter, an apostle in the Bible, said to a beggar “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” In place of money he offered the man healing. When we SEE someone, we recognize their value as humans, and thereby extend healing… all the better if we happen to be carrying cash to back it up. If there was a Jesus it’s what he would do.

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