When he came through the doorway at Green Street Church he had to bow his head. Not because it was a church. Because he is nearly seven feet tall.
He said he needed jeans and shoes. Size 40×34 jeans. Size 14 shoes.
He also needed a place to live and a job. He would look for those elsewhere.
Maybe what he really needed was hope.
The clothes closet at Green Street was overflowing with clothes, but was short on men’s clothes. There aren’t many men around town who wear 40×34 jeans and size 14 shoes.
The lady in the clothes closet didn’t let that stop her. She went to Wal-Mart. No 40×34 jeans. To Costco. No 40×34 jeans.
Finally, on her Saturday morning walk around downtown she stopped at Miller’s Variety on Trade Street. “Yes, ma’m. We have 40x34s.”
Now for the shoes. Someone told the little lady that there was a store in town that gave away shoes to homeless people. She called. Although they don’t normally respond to individual requests like this, they said, “Yes. We will fit him for size 14s.”
The day came. She took him to the store. They fit him. Not size 14s. Size 16s. He’s a big man.
So, in those few weeks, with a little extra effort by the little lady, he had the jeans and shoes he needed.
He also had found not one job but two. And, a basement apartment came with one of them.
Maybe what he needed was not just jeans and shoes. Maybe what he needed was a little hope and compassion from a little lady.
Justice is compassion raised to an institutional level.