The Author

The Corner

The northwest corner of Marsh and Forest seems to be a place that collects characters.

I have seen couples, dressed in white head to toe, holding white plastic buckets out to passersby expecting, I assume, that someone will drop in some change or a dollar bill. I am always a little amazed that some people do.

I have seen more than my share of panhandlers working the corner, accosting not only drivers in the street but also patrons of the gas station, asking them for “a little help.” Most of the time they are shrugged off or ignored by folks who are just trying to get away as fast as they can.

The most interesting, until recently, is the woman who has a cart of some sort that is piled high with what my mother would have called “I-don’t-know-what-all.” An antenna sticks up from the handle of the cart which is covered all around with aluminum foil. The sign attached to the front says that she is the victim of spying by the U.S. Government. I haven’t seen her in awhile. I hope that she is just staying out of the heat.

The cart lady was my favorite until a couple of weeks ago. Stopped at the light, I spied an average-sized bearded man, dressed in jeans and a shirt that had seen better days, pacing up and down the grass along the road, waving his hands in the air and talking. Since the light was red, I had time to watch for awhile and I could see that no one else was there to pick up the conversation. I suspected that he was one of those more and more common street people who suffer from delusions.

I was wrong about his lack of conversation partners. As the light turned green and the traffic moved, he switched his pacing, waving, and talking from north-south to east-west. He was talking to the drivers who passed him as he paced in the grass.

He wasn’t yelling; he wasn’t wandering; he wasn’t waving aimlessly. As I rolled slowly by, I saw a man with a big grin on his face, a twinkle in his eye, the palms of his hands turned toward me, saying words that I could only hear with my heart. As I passed him, I realized, “He just blessed me.” This stranger, one whom I was willing to write off as another odd occupant of one of the crossroads of life, was willing to withstand the heat of day to do good for anyone who was willing to see and hear.

I haven’t seen him on the corner since then, but it’s not for lack of looking. There’s something about being blessed that draws you back to the source. That must have been one of the things that attracted so many people to Jesus. They saw something others didn’t see, heard words that fell on otherwise deaf ears. When so many just chalked him up as odd, the ones who heard with their hearts knew he was from God. In a world that is full of so many odd characters, when we run into one that blesses us, we’ll keep coming back for more.