Out the window of Starbucks, I see a child playing on the sidewalk. Cheeks rosy-red from the cold, he runs across the concrete, stick in hand and hits every tree that he passes. His blonde hair is blowing every which way and the fact that he wears dirt stains on his white cable knit sweater doesn’t phase him. With every step, his smile grows larger and the little green monster inside of me grows more envious of the joy that overfills his tiny body.
With every day that passes, our bodies grow more fragile, our brains become more aware of the world around us and it gets harder and harder to find that carefree, over-the-top type of joy. The combination of planners, alarms, and deadlines, makes precious, savory moments impossible to find…or notice.
This past Thursday, I met my favorite person. I met someone that changed my perspective, showed me the meaning of unconditional love, and strengthened my relationship with God. I met someone that I thought I would make smile but he has given me so much joy that a simple smile would be incomparable.
For those of you reading this sentence and hanging onto the hopes that I will tell you the man that I met is my future husband, I hate to crush your dreams but this isn’t him. (God’s not ready for me to meet him yet.)
I met Thomas.
He’s 49, he’s homeless and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
As I made my way to class, I asked the homeless man on the corner if I could buy him some coffee. One cup of coffee and five sugars later, I found myself sitting with him in the cold air. We exchanged names, talked about the weather and other non-heavy subjects to keep the conversation going.
I’m not sure what the turning point of our conversation was but Thomas began telling me his story at ease. The words flowing from his mouth became tears flowing from his eyes. The more that Thomas cried, the more that I cried.
So, there I was having a good sob-session with a homeless man that I had just met. I might have looked crazy. The longer I sat with him on the cold concrete, the less affected I was by the frigid air penetrating the seams of my jacket.
Although, Thomas’ tears had begun to dry, mine were still freely flowing. Thomas took a death breath, looked at me, smiled and said “I live for the Lord and I know that this is just a small frame of the big picture.”
Eventually Thomas’ hands moved from his warm coffee cup and into mine as he prayed for me and thanked God for his new friend.
Since meeting him, I’ve been unable to write. I didn’t know how I could even write about him. I knew that no matter how long I sat at the computer turning letters into words and words into sentences, I could never encapsulate the beauty of that morning.
As I watch this child running back and forth on the opposing side of the Starbucks window, it all makes sense to me. Thomas may be the only person I’ve ever met that has as much joy as the toe-headed child carelessly rolling in the dirt outside of this window.
Aside from being joyous, I’ve never met anyone that was as grateful as Thomas.
This morning, I woke up and had breakfast with my awesome roommate and handsome neighbor. I put on clothes, and drove my car to Starbucks where I spent the day studying with a friend. I’m heading to dinner shortly and plan to meet friends tonight. I’m beyond blessed. However, I can 100% guarantee you that wherever Thomas is right now, whatever he is doing, regardless of what he is lacking, he is more grateful than I.
So often, I catch myself doubting God’s plan for me. I wonder why certain things have happened to me and why certain things haven’t. More often than not, I wrestle with God as he tries to lead me down the path he designed for me before I was ever created. Thomas taught me that life is about praising God in the small frames, regardless of the circumstance. Each individual frame compiles into a big picture- a picture that the most amazing artist painted with his two holy hands.
I once believed in luck. I once believed that the world was on my side. However, now that I have God on my side, I realize that there is no such thing as luck. Everything that happens to me, everything that happens to you, is God’s doing. God knew exactly what he was doing when he caused me to cross paths with Thomas.
What I thought would be a simple gesture turned into a change in vantage point.
Enjoy the small frames,