By Sarah Fujimoto
Oakland, California, Winter 2006
The night was still. An eerie still, where a stream of peace was surrounded by tensions of strongholds in the community, foundations, and air. We set off for the evening, midnight ministry of delivering hot meals to those on the streets seasoned with prayer and conversation for those in need.
Like radar, one of our leaders starts to move forward as we exit our vehicles stopping in a desolate place. He walks with intention and turns the corner to sneak behind a building behind another building. A place of solace for some, one man in particular. As we delve further into this area, the night becomes serene, lonely. The quietness brings a lull into the air, not one of relaxation but stillness that has nothing left. I stop in my tracks and observe. I see my two leaders, jovial, smiling, hand shaking, nodding, and laughing. They must know this man. Reaching up from the pavement, his upper body reaches towards them to extend a handshake. I see this man’s eyes, his soft smile that makes his eyes crinkle with joy and sorrow.
He shares of his day; he shares of his past hardships facing the most recent deaths of dear loved ones and friends, a string of deaths and losses. Yet he still smiles. He sleeps on pavement behind a desolate building, alone in this cold and dreary night, and still carries hope. He embraces this small moment with other humans, embraces the relationships he has in front of them. He wastes no time making small talk and brushing over the surface, but shares. He shares of the things that carry meaning, the real things he feels and experiences from the loss of a loved one to a new barber in town.
He recognizes these moments to be special and realizes unity coming from a place of vulnerability, and this connection and moment he must not miss. For it is in this connection and moment that a need is met, a need deep in his heart and the hearts of those surrounding him.
I long to stay here all night, observing their interactions and relationships and after a few many minutes our leaders and this man know that the time has come to get going. He recognizes that there are others out there besides him, yet his face expresses thankfulness for this short time. As the conversation winds to a close, there is a sadness that pulls at one to stay longer yet a great grace and understanding out of his gratitude that our time has come to a close.
In a few short moments we will walk away, leaving this man to his pavement, hot meal, and dark silence. Silence once lulling and chilling is now a warm memory in this man’s heart. A memory that touched his life and my life, showing and teaching me about gratitude, community, love, and vulnerability. And not wasting the moments you are given.
He seizes every moment, and I want to be like him.
Sarah enjoys creating new things and old alike while traveling to new places. She enjoys art and restoration, a good cup of tea, and puppies. You can access her assortment of artistic entourages she creates here.