His name is Edson.
He wears a buttercup yellow sweater over a crisp white button-down.
He dons a smile that could light up the world.
He carries cardboard boxes under his right arm,
And a place of food, a care package, and a cup of juice in his left.
It’s 11:30 at night.
He’s surrounded by twenty or so people of a different color.
He’s a light.
He says the rich people drive down here to sell drugs.
My heart cracks.
He says almost every person around him is carrying a knife,
And ready to fight.
It begins to break.
He says he’s gonna get off the streets,
Has a job to start in two weeks.
He shakes his head and sighs when he talks about his new friends.
Some people just don’t want out.
Some people just don’t want off.
They want to stay addicted.
And he talks with them in the mornings, when they’ve sobered up.
He takes them to a church down the street,
Where they sip on coffee and escape the dim reality for a bit.
He’s redeeming his time.
Edson says he’s not been scared, even though his first two weeks on the street shattered preconceived expectations.
Edson says that in the midst of drugs and knives and fights and lunatics,
He can lay down on his box and fall fast asleep.
Because he knows the Lord and he knows God will protect him.
My heart crumbles.
How is it that a man in such a dark time,
Still wears a buttercup yellow sweater,
And dons a smile that could light up the world?
And how is it that a man who would have no reason to hope,
Finds peace and hope each and every moment?
And how is it that he even cares about the people around him?
I slept good last night.
In the comfort of my bed.
Away from the cold weather.
With breakfast to look forward to.
I felt more at home sitting with him.
Because that’s who Jesus is.
He’s the guy on the street. The woman who lost her husband. The kid who doesn’t have a family.