Have you ever been hungry?
Like “worried about what you were going to eat or where your next meal would come” from kind of hungry?
I feel really lucky that I don’t really know what that’s like.
Sure, in my early 20’s, when I was trying to make it on my own and scraping to get by, my grocery money was pretty tight.
I had my fair share of peanut butter sandwiches and Ramen noodles, but I always had something to eat.
Heck, even a couple of years ago, our money was slim and we had to eat eggs 3 meals a day for 2 weeks until pay day arrived, but we ate.
It really bothers me that other people, for whatever reasons, may be hungry and without options.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a story called “Over Cookies” about an experience I had while taking meals to my friend who’d just lost her mom. (You can read it here, if you like.)
On the way to her house, I saw a man standing by the road with a sign.
He was one lane over and up a bit from me, and I watched as he stared into the car right next to him.
When he got no response, he looked down, and I nearly wept.
I’ve seen that happen before, one staring in and one staring straight ahead. What an extremely difficult position for both people to be in.
Can you imagine being so hungry that the only choice is to stand on a corner with a sign hoping someone will look your way and offer something, anything?
Can you imagine sitting in your vehicle at that stoplight, knowing someone is staring in at you, but having nothing to offer them?
Wednesday we were pulling up to a stop sign where a gentleman was standing and holding a “homeless and hungry” sign.
There was a truck in front of me, so I totally expected to see him looking into that truck.
For some reason he wasn’t.
His steel blue eyes were looking into mine, at me!
That threw me a bit sideways, I mean, that was totally new. I’d never seen anyone looking in the 2nd vehicle back.
It’s like that “you’re up” call, when you’re not quite ready. I scrambled a bit and grabbed a box of date/ nut bars I just bought and handed it to him.
Later, when I thought about why he wasn’t looking into the truck ahead of me, I had some revelations.
Maybe he did, didn’t get a response, and I just missed it.
Or, what if the light hit the glass just right and it reflected back an image that was just too hard for him to see?
A couple nights ago, I caught this reflection on my truck in our driveway and I realized something.
Maybe sometimes we just don’t know what other people are going through and just maybe there’s a story on both sides of the window.