A man called Donald

15 Sep

There’s this guy, let’s call him Donald.

Donald is a pretty special dude. He comes out every Wednesday, stands on one of Parramatta’s busiest corners, talks quietly to the crowd that rushes past him. He wears the same thing every week – a pair of pressed, brown slacks, polished shoes, and a white short-sleeved shirt that’s seen many a wash. He parts his hair neatly and has a nice smile, with bright albeit slightly sad blue eyes. 

I’ve never heard exactly what it is Donald is trying to say as I’m usually just another one of the harried faces that brushes by. But from the look of him and his quiet manner, I would guess he’s offering something religious. I’d never seen anyone take one of the little white booklets he likes to hand out, nor had I ever seen anyone stop, or even smile at him. Yet he stays there week after week, delivering his heartfelt message.

For some reason, last week Donald caught my eye. I didn’t stop. In fact I think I may have shook my head at him, thinking that I didn’t need his message because I already have a pretty good relationship with God. But each step I took past him got harder and by the time I got back to the office I really regretted not turning around and picking up one of his booklets. I smiled, but I didn’t accept the message. I couldn’t help but think I’d passed over something I should have paid more attention to.

I soon forgot about Donald.

But today, there he was again. This time I took one of his booklets from his hand as I passed and nearly choked on the amount of faith Donald had managed to pack into that thing. The booklet itself was standard issue – directions to a couple of Psalms and a short explanation – but at the bottom it had this crease from where he’d been holding it. Those seven small pages were dented by Donald’s hand, holding it as he must have been for hours and hours. I only just managed to hold back the tears.

Despite the fact that Donald would probably hand out only about five or so booklets  day, if that, you have to respect the amount of faith and goodwill each of those five booklets contains. There’s a guy that really believes in what he’s doing. And he’s not just saying it like so many of us do; he’s out there actively trying to reach the world with a message he believes in with his whole heart. He’s doing what he knows he should, because he wants to, and because he truly cares for all those people around him that he doesn’t even know.

Donald, quite simply, has heart.

I wish I had Donald’s courage. I don’t tend to talk about my religion because I’m vain and care too much about what other people think. I rarely put my beliefs on the line and there’s no doubt that my relationship with God is much more about taking than it is about giving. Sure, I say I’ll change all the time but the truth is that I probably won’t. Not beyond a marginal level of improvement at any rate.

I guess what made me so upset to find that hope-filled crease in Donald’s paper was that for all I ask God for, every hour of every day, I don’t do much in return. Yet there He was, seeking me out in my otherwise self absorbed day, to let me know… what? That he’s heard my prayers? That he’s still there? That I’ll just have to be patient and wait my turn?

Whatever it was, I heard it. In my heart of heart’s I heard it, and it’s OK.

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