Her name was "Chastity" she was a very pretty woman with clean but visibly worn cloths from repeated wear. She came over to me and asked me if I could help her. At first I thought she was a volunteer because she seemed like she could have been the girl next door.

"Can you help me load my bike? "

"What do you mean" I said.

 She said "I lost my job and can't pay for my car so they took it, and now I am trying to feed me and my son but I can only carry a little bit of food on my bike. I am doing the best I can, trying to smile and stay happy for my son but I don't know how long I can keep this up. How can I find work when I don't have a car or have decent cloths for an interview? I don't want a handout, I want to work" as she tried to hold back a tear.  "You know what the worst thing is though? Its how so many people look right through me because they think they know what and who I am, as if I were invisible, or if somehow I choose this way of life. Its so hard to keep my dignity, my self respect when I feel like no one can hear me or see me. Do you know what I mean?"

I was about to say something " appropriate" but I felt  God nudge me. He has always given me a word to say in these moments and this moment was no different, but what was spoken did not come from my lips or my head, it came from my heart, perhaps even God's own heart.
I looked at her intently and just wrapped my arms around her and hugged her tightly as she laid  her weary head on my shoulder for a deep long cry. At first I could feel her body ridged and unyielding but then I heard a deep sigh as if she resigned herself to receive Gods love through this broken stranger. The moment became somber, sacred, and holy as if grace was watering a dry and dying flower neglected in some forgotten corner of a sun scorched garden. 

"Thank you so much for the food she said, I think I feel better now,  I think I feel less invisible now, yeah, thats it "

" You are most welcome, I said. Please come back.... 
I would like to "see" you again.

 There are many incredible people I meet along my journey who want to make a difference in the world. Some of them tell me they want to go to a far off country to work with the poor.
 I am always in awe as to what they expect to find there.
Is our next door neighbor's blood a different shade of red from those in Africa? Does not our sisters tears in India contain the same amount of salt ?

Mother Teresa once told me that despite the fact that she traveled the world and saw every economically deprived society, she said that New York suffered the greatest poverty. She said "In Calcutta when I give a woman a cup of rice because she hasn't eaten in 2 days, she will will go and share some with her neighbor who hasn't eaten in 3. Loneliness is the greatest form of poverty she said and here in New York  people are the most isolated and alone in the world! 

You don't need to go further than your own backyard to feed the poor.....everyone hungers, rich and poor, but not only for food!

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