I first met “Tony” about this time last year. He came up to my wife and I as we were working in the yard on a sultry Spring afternoon. My wife gave him a cup of cold water and I gave him a ride downtown.
He was, like many people in this day and age, adrift and without a place to call a home. It seemed as though he did not wish to ask too much of us, but he seemed to want for so much. He spun a tale of calamity and distress, but did not cover himself with a cloak of victimhood… all the same, `neath his beguiling smile was a voice of desperation.
As he was slightly addled and unsure of where to go, I gave him what paltry currency I possessed on my person and drove him to a place where I thought he might receive some assistance. I shook his hand and wished him well.
Today, he came back…
In contrast to last year, this afternoon was cold and blustery gray. I offered him a seat out on my porch and talked with him for a good while. Most of the listening came on my part, as I was content to give “Tony” a compassionate ear. However, the conversation was guided by my pointed questions and remarks. It seemed as though he had a lot on his mind, and no one to say it to; suffice to say, I was more than happy to serve in this regard.
After a while, though, he seemed to become somewhat agitated… not at me but himself. It was as though something was pulling at him, or that an unseen visitor was speaking into his ear. Before long, he grew quiet… his posture, despondent and tired.
I offered him a meal, a ride, and whatever few pennies I could scrape together to assist him in his travels; I mentioned a new missionary work taking place within the town that he might inquire, as to assisting him in his needs… but he just smiled wearily and said:
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained Angels unawares.”
His smile broadening, he walked off my porch and down the street… his worn boot-heels gently scuffing the asphalt into the distance.