He Gave Sight Unto the Blind


Tonight I had the opportunity of bringing some food items to the local homeless shelter. It was a last minute thing prompted by my desire to follow one of today’s suggested daily acts of service, outlined on the #lighttheworld calendar. When I arrived at the shelter, in my toasty warm car, listening to my favorite radio station playing cheery holiday music, I was surprised to see how many people were huddled together outside, waiting to get inside for a warm meal. I found a parking spot and left my box of food in the car, until I knew where to take it. Having never been there before I spotted a man on a cell phone walking toward the front of the line. I followed him without looking at anyone in the line, mostly because I did not want anyone to think I was staring. The door was locked so the man on the cell phone, made his way to the back entrance. I silently followed with my head down. I heard muffled voices saying they wished the doors would open soon; they were hungry. I heard a child’s voice among them. I found myself wishing I had brought my box. I would have gladly given the whole box to that child. The man and I waited at the back entrance. When the door finally opened, a lady in a hair net and gloves asked if we were there to serve in the kitchen. The man answered yes; I told her I had some food to donate. She quickly directed the man to enter and asked me to please pull my car around and wait, until she had a chance to open the front doors and let the people in. I walked past the line of people again. Again I kept my gaze downward. Again I heard the voices of men, women and children. I drove around to the rear entrance, opened the trunk and organized the contents. The December night air cut through my coat and for the first time I realized how cold it was. I remembered the weather reports saying the temperatures were going to plunge well below freezing. I felt guilty for wanting to get back in my warm car to wait, while people were standing just a few feet away waiting . . . hungry, cold and homeless. I decided to wait outside my car. I was grateful for my knitted beanie and was putting on my gloves, when I noticed how many people in the line did not have beanies or gloves and for the first time I found myself staring. The gravity of the scene before me opened my eyes and pierced my heart. My thoughts raced . . . I’ve often wished my house were bigger to accommodate all of my “family” when we gather. These people, my brothers and sisters, didn’t have a house of any kind to gather in, let alone to protect them from the elements. On my way to the shelter I had grumbled about the heavy holiday traffic I had to navigate and was looking forward to some solitude. These souls had walked, who knows how far, to find temporary warmth, sustenance and a sense of belonging. I had been worrying about getting home in time for dinner and wondering if I would like what was being prepared. They were gratefully waiting in the bitter cold for, what was for some, their only meal of the day. I’ve been complaining all week about the poor timing of a cold I have been trying to get over. I heard several elderly people congested with deep, rattily coughs and wondered how they would ever survive the night. I have heard about the homeless population in our communities. As a family we have even prepared baggies of personal items, like soap, toothbrushes, shavers, band-aids, treats etc . . . and shared them with the homeless. I have driven by the hand-lettered pleas on street corners and sometimes even handed out a dollar or two. I thought I understood. I thought I was doing my part. I thought I was following the Savior, but tonight I realized there is so much more that needs to be done. I have been blind. Tonight . . . He gave sight unto the blind.