“What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.” ― Walt Whitman
I saw Jesus. I was dressed in smart casual clothes, I wore an apron and my mind was filled with a million little thoughts about both the present moment and future plans.
I saw Him more than once. He looked different each day, a different skin tone, stature and dress. I served Him a fried breakfast complete with fried bread and cooked tomatoes. I offered Him a hot drink and made sure to ask if He wanted sugar and milk. He seemed grateful for the food, grateful but weary.
I watched Him as He ate. He sat silently eating, sometimes looking around in a daze at those around Him, lost in His own world. Sometimes He was agitated and irritable, annoyed with His life and the hand He had been dealt. Sometimes He made conversation, shared parts of His life story and the intricacies of how He came to be seen by me.
I listened and tried to show the empathy I felt filling my heart. I wished I could alleviate His painful past, His disappointing present and the long road ahead that was His future.
At times the stench from Him was awful, at others barely noticeable. I showed Him where the showers and laundry rooms were, helped Him fill out an application form and laughed at His jokes… I was relieved He still found some joy in humour.
I admired His tenacity of spirit, knowing I would probably not have half as much were I to walk the same road as Him.
His language was rough and honest but polite when around me. I hoped He didn’t think I was judging Him. I hoped He knew that I believed in Him, that I could see the gifts and goodness within Him. I wanted Him to know I had hope for Him.
‘He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces. He was despised and we held Him in low esteem.’- Isaiah 53
I was not the only one who saw Jesus. Many others did, and many others served Him, although I am not sure they recognised who He was.
I saw Jesus in a day centre for the homeless and vulnerable. It was an honour.
‘Then the King will say to those on His right, “come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink…”’- Matthew 25