Monday, August 28, 2006

A street corner shave

As I turned the corner at the end of my block yesterday on my way to church, I spotted a man just up the street.

As I drew closer, I realized that he was homeless. In fact, he had pushed his "home"--a converted baby stroller now outfitted to carry every possession he owned--over to the curbside under a small tree.

He was almost down on one knee, as he bent over, focused on one side of his bundle of possessions.

When I drove on by him, I could see what was going on.

He peered into a small shaving mirror attached to the side of his stroller. There at the curb, without water or soap, my neighbor was shaving his face.

He took great care. He was so intent about the job before him that my passing did not distract him.

I thought about him all day yesterday.

Here is a man with almost nothing from a material standpoint. I am sure many would write him off as mentally unstable, incorrigible in any number of ways, etc., etc., etc.

But, I didn't see him that way at all.

I saw a very poor man living on the streets, likely for a myriad of reasons--some his fault, many others completely out of his control.

Yet, he was still doing his best with what he had. He wanted to shave, to clean up a bit, to put his best foot forward or, in this case, face!

I know that I really can't know.

But when I see him again, and I will, that's just the way it works around here; I will attempt to get acquainted.


RC said...


I think this post tells so much about you. You see people in a way that almost no one else does. You see value in every human being. Most people just see a bumb. You see a person with dignity. I have heard preachers say with great emotion, "If only one person needed the blood of Jesus he would have died for that one person." I doubt many people really believe it. I know you do. You have given me a wonderful challange to start my day. God bless

David Michael said...


This man has my respect. If I were homeless, I don't think I would want to shave. Depression would take over, and I would not care what I looked like.

This man gives new meaning to "The Man in the Mirror." Thank you for sharing this story!