It is a beautiful summer night in the park around the water fountain. Various people gathered. Some have bikes, others are sitting on blankets. Two young girls are chasing each other; playing . . . pushing. Church groups with youth ministries teaching social justice precede the experienced champions. “Any food left?” The question flies by while spoken from a passing bike. “No. It’s all gone.” Sitting on a park bench two lovers hold hands. “Good morning, good afternoon, good evening.” It’s all the same in a day. A lovely older woman passes by, “Do you know John Lennon . . . I’m going to say a prayer for him.” A group on the lawn is spread out on a blanket playing keep away. Dogs happily follow alongside their owners. “Hey, man. I heard you got a job. Congratulations.” Everyone is waiting for something. Whatever it is it is behind the usual time.
Slowly, a 2014 bread line forms. It gets longer and longer. Unlike the historical past, this offering is organized by individual effort and not a governmental program. The line continues to fill with youngsters, young people, couples with children, middle aged, and older people; mostly from the streets or from shelters. Others have just found employment and haven’t received their paycheck. Many have not eaten yet today . . . and the line gets longer.
As nightfall approaches, the fountain lights show off its colors of red, green, and blue. This spot to eat is calming and poses a time to forget troubles. Momma and girls are the first to leave . . . stomachs full . . . just one more splash in the fountain water. The line remains long.
Behind this picture, lies the reality of human suffering, of people trying to find jobs in a lousy economy. Their irrelevance in a retail society screams out for justice. No one reported the attacks on homeless women last year led by a group of heartless young men. Homeless men with noble hearts appointed themselves protectors of the women. They are family to one another at a time in their lives when their own families have forgotten them. Life on the street is not a picnic in the park, but those who choose to see these people as lights from God’s own eyes have a special place in heaven.