I was sitting at a table in our Loaves & Fishes Free Restaurant for the homeless at the weekend eating lunch with two homeless men. Both were tall, skinny and wore the look of those who had spent a fair bit of time recently outdoors.
“I pick up my new dentures tomorrow”, one of them said. “It’s going to make me look so much better and I’m sure I’ll be able to get a job now”.
I looked closely at his face and could see the indent in his mouth where the teeth were missing. The centrepiece of his top lip was drawn inwards, distorting his face a bit. I could imagine how a new set of dentures from our free dental clinic would fix all of that disfiguring.
“You know”, I said “I know one of the richest men in Australia and he is so lonely and sad. Riches don’t make you happy”.
“No”, he said. Then he looked at me closely and said, “You know Bill, I have learned that the purpose of life is to give. You are born into this world with nothing and you leave it with nothing. The only important thing you can do along the way is to give”.
“Yeah”, his mate chimed in. “I don’t have anything and tonight I’m sleeping in this boardin’ house but today I feel ten feet tall because I am not drinking. I have not drunk for months now and I feel happier and better than I ever did”.
They didn’t know it but at that moment these two who had nothing had given me everything!
They had sat with me and had freely given of themselves and shown how beautiful, sensitive and caring they were and, what’s more, they’d shared that side of themselves with me. They made me thankful for the life that I had been given and once again made me realise that possessions deep down really mean nothing. What is of ultimate importance is our integrity and our ability to love and accept love.
That’s something that can’t be earned. It’s something which comes from within inside of us. These two homeless guys had it in spades, something many with more material riches than us keep looking for and can never find.