For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Cor 13: 12-13.
A picture of imperfect reality. History, humanity, as a reflection in a pond or lake. The dust, the rocks, the flesh and bones, are all real above, only water and image in reflection. The landscape shifts. Colors brighten or dim. Sunny days or cloudy ones. Stormy darkness. Warmth or cold. Seasons that are warm for me may be cold for others.
Reality is more than appearance, more than reflection.
The weather is perfect–sunny and breezy, low 80’s and low humidity. We are carefree. On vacation. Nurturing grandchildren with amusement parks, exposure to various cultures, family history, educational experiences. A chance encounter on a busy road.
And there he stands. A bearded homeless man with a sign that says simply, “Hungry.” Definitely a new cultural experience. “Do you have any gift cards?” my husband asks. I don’t. We hand him a few dollars through the car window. His gratitude is extravagant. And there is a brokenness in it. An acknowledgement of his broken being. He isn’t comfortable in the ill-fitting suit called dependence.
He is our stereotype–a man seemingly without family connections, perhaps plagued by substance abuse, mental illness, the trauma of war or abuse. He is one who might have been on a vacation with his grandchildren, if only…
He is a face of homelessness, not the face. There are others.
We encountered him in Brevard County, Florida. More than 2,100 chlldren in that county are homeless-a number that increased tenfold in five years.
One county in one state– a place much like the rest of America–struggling to get back to an economic heyday. Never quite getting there. Today in the rest of America, 2.5 million children are homeless. One in 30 children. Statistically, one in every classroom across the nation.
A more surprising statistic? Nearly one in four homeless kids have been trafficked for sex or have given their bodies in “survival sex”–trading sex acts for food or shelter. The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12 to 14.
They are children who could be on vacation with their grandparents, learning about various aspects of life. Having hung onto innocence. If only…
Like us, they are reflections, images of their Creator. Wind, rain, and darkness distort the image. We see through the glass darkly. The day is coming when we will see clearly. We will see them. We will see ourselves.
Will we wonder–“If only…”?
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