I’ve invited a homeless man to have lunch… Now you know how I feel.

Recently I have invited a homeless man whom I have been seeing on my way to work to have lunch with me in a restaurant across from where he always is. This is what happened…Those of you who know me, know that I am religious and try to live a religious life. I pray daily and read the bible. I try to what is called: “listen to the voice of God” and do what He tells me to. The last 6 weeks I felt like God was asking me to invite a homeless man to have lunch with me. This particular man is like many of the homeless people in Paris, or “closhards” as they are called in French. He sits on the sidewalk asking for money on my route to work.

For six weeks I had been postponing actually doing it. I had all kinds of reservations and fears. What if he becomes angry? What if he takes an entire afternoon of my work day? What if he makes a scene in the restaurant? Finally last Tuesday I gathered all my strength and courage and decided to go ask him.

At 12:00 I left the office. On my walk to his place I felt the adrenaline rising, thinking of all the possible consequences. What if this restaurant would be full of colleagues? I could become the gossip of the month. I decided to press on regardless of my fears etc and approached him.

I greeted him, shook his hand and saw how bad his skin looked etc. So I asked: Are you hungry? He looked at me strangely and said: Yes. Then I said: “Would you like to have lunch with me right now”? He looked at me even more strangely and after a couple of moments he said: “…No”, together with some comments I did not understand. I asked again and pointed at the restaurant across the street. He said no again.

There I was… standing wondering what to do. To me an invitation to a “clochard” to have a warm meal at a restaurant was an opportunity you don’t pass by. However he did. So I asked God: Why did you make me go through all this stress to ask this guy, all these worries fears etc? While you knew he was going to say no to me?. God replied: “No you know how I feel”. God invites people all the time and gets rejected. The feeling of rejection is indescribable. It is not personal but different. I have trouble to put it to words. Now I know the feeling as well. I don’t know what I will do now. Maybe I’ll be like God and… Invite the clochard again…