I was simply there to meet and greet. I was at the Senior Olympics to encourage the runners. I was at the event to move around the people and be seen, as a leader. I was simply there for the work.
There he was. About 6 feet tall. He was chewing some food. He mumbled something. I pretended to listen, but did not pay much attention. He asked again. A little louder this time. “Terry, do you still like me?” I said, “Yes, of course Wayne.” As I said those words, I quickly looked away. I held my breath for a while. You see, when Wayne chews his food, crumbs and this yellowish goo drip down his scruffy beard. Wayne does not take regular showers, if any at all. Wayne, sort of, emits an unpleasant body odor.
I wanted to get away. I feared looking at the drool on Wayne’s face was going to make me lose my breakfast. I turned around and walked fast, back to my office. As I walked to the office, I heard God say, “But you eat meals with wealthy people. You go for lunches with clean people. Wayne just asked if you liked him, and you said, “Yes.” You lied.” The conviction was swift. My heart sank. I promised myself I will eat a meal with Wayne sometime in the next few years. That did not work. I had to do something sooner than that. I told my wife “I am going to take Wayne to a sit down restaurant for lunch before October 31, 2014.” I had to be specific. She was surprised. So was I. Would I be able to do it?
Last Sunday, my daughter, Fiela and I had the amazing privilege and humbling opportunity to go for lunch with Wayne. As we walked into Greek Chicken restaurant, all heads turned and looked at us. I planned that we would offer to sit outside. I was convicted, once again. We ordered our lunch and sat down to eat. As soon as I saw the drool, I almost lost it. My lunch, that is. I gave Wayne a bunch of napkins. He seemed to enjoy his chicken and fries. I enjoyed my food, and of course the discussion. We had a wonderful conversation about his family and his shelter. I enjoyed the discussion. Soon, I did not smell the bad body odor. Soon, I forgot about the drool and crumbs on his chin and clothes. It was just three people – God’s children sharing a meal together. It was one of my most favorite meals. I will never forget this day. Thank you God for convicting me. Thank you Wayne for helping me put things into perspective. And, yes, I still like you.