Friday, April 15, 2011

The shepherd of souls

One day in 1988, as I turned around with my tray, a group of women at McDonald's invited me over to join them. We knew each other. They were all semi-homeless, working girls, who sold themselves to pay for an occasional room, and more often another drink or another hit of their drug of choice.

We knew each other because I worked at at St. Francis Center, in Denver, a homeless center, and we had met many times.

But now we were out of our roles. I wasn't the "shelter worker" and they weren't the "clients". We were simply people who knew one another, and actually cared about one another.

For the next 30 minutes they told stories, and laughed, and they occasionally tried to embarrass me, and enjoyed watching me blush when they got really risque. And then, as we were finishing our meals one of them touched my arm and said,  "Don't go. We didn't pray before we all ate, and I want you to pray now."

And so we sat in McDonald's on East Colfax, holding hands in a circle around the table and prayed, ending with the Lord's prayer together. Then we got up hugged each other, and went our separate ways.

God loves those who are desperately lost and caught in desperation. May he move us to love them too.

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