Not quite understanding what he meant I said, “Justice?”
“Yes, Justice. He’s a homeless man I met the other day. I bought him lunch at McDonalds and sat with him, listening to his life story as he ate.”
I don’t know why this conversation shocked me. Allen-Michael (who, at the time of this phone call, was traveling around the country with a group of other college-aged kids doing youth ministry work) has always been sensitive to the needs of others, a great listener, and a deep thinker. Which are terrific qualities any mom would be proud of…but, buying lunch for a homeless stranger and then sitting down and listening to his life story?
How many of us would actually do this?
As Allen-Michael continued to share with me the details of the event and of Justice’s life, my shock subsided and I began to really admire my son’s desire to spend time getting to know someone whose life was so challenged. Allen-Michael told me they ended their time together in prayer.
I found the entire conversation quite humbling. Because, honestly, if I had been in the same situation I may have gone to the extent of buying lunch for Justice…but, I would not have taken the time to hear his story. No doubt I would have felt there were more important ways to spend my day.
Allen-Michael finished up his ministry work in May of last year and has been in Rome since September completing a study abroad program. One recent morning I received a text message that read: “Good morning Mom, thanks so much for giving birth to me.” (What twenty-one-year-old young man sends something like this?!) I responded, “Sure Mike, no problem…while painful in the moment, it has been a blessing to have you in my life ever since.” I found out later he texted to thank me because of a conversation he had with a young woman, a European stranger who told him all about the birth of her own child. I didn’t ask if she was homeless, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that were the case.
Our children have the ability to teach us so many things in life. Here it is we (parents) who believe we are the wise ones, the ones to impart our knowledge and practical skills onto our kids. Although this is true to a certain extent, when we allow our children to become who God created them to be, it is we who can benefit from the life lessons they impart.
I continue to look forward to nary-a-dull-moment conversations with Allen-Michael, who has truly become one of my five greatest teachers.
Kimberly Muench is a Flower Mound mother of five and author of “My Mothers Footprints: A story of Faith, Calm, Courage, Patience and Grace.” To see more of her work or to contact her, visit www.mymothersfootprints.com.