I was almost crying as I hurried through the blowing snow on my way to the soup kitchen. Even though I had a hat, mitts, scarf and a coat I was freezing and I was complaining to God about my discomfort.
All morning I had dressed and treated painfully swollen frostburned fingers and toes at OIM’s street clinic. Our street friends find it hard to believe that alcohol makes them freeze faster, and others had fallen asleep in the snow. Winter can be so very cruel.
As I turned the street corner I saw Mike in his tattered London Fog coat that he was holding together because the buttons were long gone. He waved to me and immediately I started complaining to him, “Oh Mike what a cold day, I am freezing, I hate this weather….”
Mike gave me a big toothless grin and reached into his shirt, which was lined with garbage bags and newspapers. From a spot close to his heart he pulled out a crumpled piece of newsprint, and with his yellowed fingers he carefully smoothed it out. “Here Susan, put this under your jacket. It will block the wind and you will soon be warmer.”
I stopped talking and looked deep into his eyes. I felt so ashamed of my selfcentredness and my insistent demand for comfort. A strange warmth crept over me as it dawned upon me: here was Jesus in one of His distressing disguises. I knew in that instant that I had been forgiven. Mike shook my hand and said, “God bless you Susan, and Merry Christmas.”