Stepping out of the hotel lobby, the bitter cold wind of December caught my breath. I snuggled down in my coat and breathed a thankful sigh that I had the good sense to bring my heavy boots and scarf to London. Waiting for my friend Judy and my husband Jim to get into the car, I paused—and saw her. She was bent over in a curve with a thin scarf clutched around her shoulders. Her feet were wrapped in thin plastic bags tied on with string. One of the city's homeless. She had to be nearly frozen. My whole body ached at the sight. She passed by so quickly I had to run to catch up with her. Overtaking her so I didn't scare her by touching her on the back, I said "Ma'am, please—this is for you" as I stretched out my hand with several pound coins originally meant for the taxi.
Without hesitation she lifted the large bag in her hand and with strength I couldn't imagine from a woman of her size, bashed it into my face. It must have contained a brick because it nearly knocked me out. My face was instantly numb with pain. Uttering words of obscenity, she kept moving, never missing a step, as I reeled to keep standing. Jim and Judy, sitting in the taxi were beginning to wonder if I had vanished into thin air. "What happened to your face?" they asked in horror as I stumbled into the car.
As clergy wives, most times the vicious attacks we receive by those we try to help do not come in physical form. They are verbal, emotional, and inflict hidden wounds. But they do leave scars. Mother Teresa once said: "The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer. It is the feeling of being uncared for, unwanted, of being deserted and alone." Maybe that is why so much of our world is hurting and wants to hurt someone back.
Yes, I still press coins into the hands of the homeless. And yes, I still hear lectures from my husband about it! But the point is that we should continue doing whatever the lord impresses us for good. Even if we are knocked down! Even if we are hurt? Even if it is by our own chuch members!
God bless each of you!