Everyone called her ‘Maureen’…
I had glimpsed her before in an adjoining community, but I had never taken the time to see her. You see, common sense dictates that a healthy distance should be maintained when dealing with one of seriously unsound mind and I was never one to argue with simple logic.
The morning she showed up on our street, I took note. Small frame… skin the colour of dark chocolate… short, loose, kinky hair that had not felt the caress of a wide tooth comb in ages. She was the picture of a woman on a mission as she strode purposefully down the street, lean legs propelled swiftly forward by bare feet…
Dark chocolate on asphalt.
Our eyes met and she articulated her desire as she came: “Miss, beg yuh piece o’ bread nuh?” I turned mechanically toward the steps leading in, and at that moment I could not remember if I had responded audibly.
My brain was a whir of activity as I grabbed a portion of the homemade loaf that was sitting on the counter wrapped in clingfilm, and I rushed back outside to ask: “It’s whole wheat. Do you still want it?” (Yes, I believe beggars have a God-given freedom to choose, and I wanted to give her room to exercise that freedom)
She nodded vigorously, eyes all alight, and her soundless ‘yes!’ resounded in the atmosphere as I hurried to transfer the small package from my clean hands to her not-so-clean hands. She looked right into my eyes when she expressed her thanks, and I realised then that insanity and homelessness had not stolen everything. She must have been quite a gracious woman. I would have wanted to know that woman.
As she turned away from me, tearing through clingfilm and sinking her teeth into the bread made by my hands, I wished I could have given her something more… but a piece of bread was what she had asked for, and sometimes bread is all that satisfies.
That she came to make a request was not unusual, but the fact that she was specific beyond the normal request for food was strange. Even more bewildering was the fact that she returned the way she came instead of continuing down the main thoroughfare.
In retrospect, I am convinced that she was sent by Someone who knows all, so she could afford to be specific. Having received that which her soul desired, she could return the way she came. You see, that bread was baked the day before, so it would not have been available to her if she had come to us before that time. My men would probably not leave much (if any) behind by following day… so that morning was just right. For both of us.
She taught me much by her approach to bread… unashamed petitioning, patient waiting, heartfelt gratitude, eager devouring, purposeful stride…
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
The power of the promise is compelling. If we hunger for the Bread of Life, thirst for the Water of Life, pant after… longingly yearn for… righteousness (holiness, ‘God-likeness’), we will be filled with that which we desire.
More like Mary, less like Martha.
“No human agent can supply that which will satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul.” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p.18)
We cannot, by our own efforts, be filled so we must seek the only One who can satisfy the longing of our hearts. Even Maureen, devoid of stellar mental health, understood this and her approach should compel us to rethink our ‘have need of nothing’ Laodecian mentality…
- Do we seek the Bread of Life with such fervour and wait patiently for blessings from the hand of Him who has promised?
- Are we consistently living lifestyles of gratitude?
- Will we be remembered by all (not just friends) for having a gracious spirit?
- Do we make time to devour Bread – the Word of God – in moments when the road before us seems long and winding.
- Do we live our lives with intention and purpose?
Oh, how we need Jesus… and He has just the Invitation to fill the needs we did not even think we had:
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:18-19)
Count me in…
God is Faithful.
*Original image source: Wikimedia Commons