She seemed like a misfit in that room of misfits—clean and well groomed in decent clothing, almost regal, tall, thin, with beautiful gray hair arranged neatly in a coiled bun on top of her head. The coil had a black pick through it speaking of a better time – a time when two or three dollars could be spent on a whim. She was alone and appeared to be very lonely. She walked through the breakfast line with the other homeless and jobless people, took her food and sat by herself appearing to be very lonely. I drifted over to her seat and sat down by her, introducing myself as I did so. She didn’t give me a name, but I think it might have been Naomi-Mara so named from the Book of Ruth 1:20. She did not appear bitter but it was obvious that life had very recently dealt bitterly with her. My efforts to be friendly were rejected with silence and shaking of the head. I was afraid she would quit eating and walk away if I pursued my attempts to pull her out of her armor so I walked away.
I went back the next week mostly because I wanted to see if she was still there. She was. I think she remembered me but still rejected most of my advances except for one response. After complimenting her beautiful hair, I asked how long it had taken her to grow it. She told me thirty-seven years. Will she be there next time? I don’t know. I started to say I hope so, but that would not be good to hope she is still eating in the bread line. I hope the Holy Spirit is wooing her in some manner wherever she is. I’m reminded of His endless grace as he beacons souls to surrender to the Friend who wants to give them Living Bread to eat.
I saw her again. I didn’t recognize her at first. Life had been very hard on her. Six weeks in the bread line had produced lost weight, black stained fingers, and garments obviously from lost and found boxes or something of that kind. Her behavior was a bit “pushy” as she asked for more napkins showing she had learned some “coping on the street” skills. But most telling of all, instead of the decorative hair pin, she now has her hair (still nicely coiffed) held in place by a scared piece of pencil. What happened to the hair pin and the “acceptable” clothes? Some of her pride was broken as evidenced by the fact that she talked to me as tears rolled faster than she could get napkins to wipe them. I asked if I could come back later in the day to take her someplace. She told me no, that she could walk wherever she needed to go. I asked if she was getting help other than food from the facility there. Again, the answer was no, she needed more than they could give.
Pride gone, replaced by brokenness, she told me her name, but it was more befitting the regal lady I first saw—when she was a misfit in the bread line. So the last time I saw her she fit perfectly—Naomi Mari.
(blogging lesson six, character study)