He stands there on the busy downtown street corner directly in front of the Gothic church. He's always crowned with a cowboy hat. In the winter wind I quickly pass by with my head down and my face buried in my scarf. He calls out asking for money.
I reach deep into my coat pocket and pull out my rosary beads. "This is all I have" I say. "That's all you need" he replies with a smile.
Every day he stands there on the busy downtown street corner directly in front of the Gothic church always crowned with a cowboy hat. He smiles and says hello as I quickly pass by on my lunchtime walk. And others too, rush past, always in a hurry, but he just stands there greeting everyone, putting a smile into the lives of those who come his way.
Into the warm summer months he remains there, smiling and greeting passersby. I quickly run to catch the walk sign before it changes so I won't have to stand on the corner waiting. He calls hello and I mumble a quick greeting in reply. The light changes and as I walk away I hear "Pray for me?"
Did he remember that I am the one with the rosary in my pocket? I stop and turn in the middle of the intersection,smile, and say "I will!"
God of the lost and the lonely, those forsaken on the sidewalks of life, be with all who are eager to share a smile but have little else to give. Just as a cowboy hat offers shelter from the sun, shelter their hearts from fear, anxiety and hatred. Give to them whatever it is they most need at the moment whether it be a hot lunch, bus fare, or peace in their hearts. God of the lost and the lonely, thank you those who share smiles and friendly greetings and who ask for our prayers, for through them we are all a little less lost and lonely ourselves. Amen.