I don't know if I've ever entertained angels unaware, and today's opportunity didn't look like an angel, but then again it wouldn't be unaware if it was obvious!
I'm back in Bedford for a meeting about the Paralympics, and I'm at the station waiting to collect a friend. Wandering around the car park is a young woman asking for change. She is tearful and distraught as we talk briefly and I part with some change.
Sitting in the car, I wonder if that's the best I can do. How will £2 get her off the street and out of both the rain and the danger? It won't.
I find her again. This time I ask her about her story. It's a sad story, then again they always are. It's so easy to assume that everyone lies. That way you can mitigate your reason for not helping. After al, they'll only use the money for drugs or drink and be out again later telling someone else the same story.
But what if it's true? Can we afford to assume it's a lie every time?
This time I asked how much she needed and if she'd found somewhere. She told she been to a place and what the cost of night's accommodation would be. Guess how much I had in my wallet. With the £2 I'd already given her I had enough to cover one night in a B&B.
She hugged me.
I didn't expect that.
Anyone attaching probably thought the worst, but who cares. Maybe I helped one soaking wet young woman get one night in a dry bed and tomorrow she'll find a place in a hostel. It's no way to live.
And if she was lying? Well I'm a few pounds worse off, but rather that than a sleepless night wondering if I'd missed the chance to bless anther human being or even entertain an angel unawares.
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