Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Invisible Man

Most of the time he is invisible, that man on the street corner holding up a sign asking for money. We are afraid to look into his eyes and it is easier to pretend he is not there. We start rationalizing. If we give him money, maybe he will just buy booze or drugs?

One of these men thought maybe he was invisible. Days past with no visitors. He was emotionally separated from his family due to a series of storms he faced in his life. The cardboard sign he held up was as tattered as his clothes. He smelled from wearing the same clothes every day and he missed taking a hot shower.

Another winter storm was approaching and the man on the street corner no longer had the energy to hold up his sign. Instead, he just sat down on the same corner and lowered his head. Every morning he prayed that someone would see him and offer him some money for a meal. He barely noticed the man who stopped next to him. As the man got out of his limo, he spoke softly and asked the invisible man where he was staying. The invisible man shrugged his shoulders...he had lost his home after his layoff.

"There is a storm coming", the man said as he invited his new friend to take a seat in the limo. "I am visiting for a while and you can stay at my hotel until the storm passes." The invisible man smiled as they approached the visitor's hotel. The visitor escorted his new friend to the front desk and asked for an extra key. What a surprise to see the visitor push the penthouse button when the elevator door closed.

The room was elaborate. The invisible man focused on the tub that was the size of a mini swimming pool. There was a magnificent view to the ocean. On this special day, the invisible man felt like a lottery winner. He was so thankful to be inside as he looked at a wall of black clouds just off the coast.

The visitor told the man that he would be back in time for lunch and let the man pick anything to wear since they were both the same size. The steam of the hot bath filled the room and fogged the windows. The man sank into the tub and let the hot water warm his thin body. He could not wait to get a real meal.

When the visitor returned, the invisible man was clean shaven and dressed in white. Even the shoes were white and well polished. "Are you hungry?" the visitor asked. The invisible man nodded and soon they were back in the limo.

Once again, the invisible man's eyes lit up as he stared at the menu. He had almost forgotten the taste of steak and lobster. The two chatted for over an hour as they ate lunch together. Mostly, the visitor asked questions about the invisible man's past and what his goals were for the future.

One thing that the two had in common is that they often felt ignored by the world around them. They had survived many storms in their lives. The invisible man started to feel human again as he shared his dreams for a better future. His luck had finally changed and he had a real friend that could see past his own shortcomings.

As the two new friends finished desert, the visitor told the man he would be leaving town soon. The invisible man begged the visitor to take him along but the visitor said that would not be possible. At that moment, the visitor told him that some really big storms were coming, bigger than anything the invisible man had ever seen before. The visitor told him, "the storms ahead are so big that people are going to think the world is coming to an end. More people will find themselves homeless just as you are now." The visitor told him, "I wish I could take you with me but I can only promise you that I will never forget you and one day I will come back for you."

The invisible man had tears in his eyes as he listened to his friend describe what was ahead. He knew that soon his friend would be leaving town and he was afraid. The visitor put his arm around the invisible man and offered him a job. The visitor told the man it was time to come out of the cave he had been living in and share this story with others. The visitor told his friend, "you are to write about what I have shared with you every day until I return. Tell the people that no matter how big the storms are, there is hope."

Two days later, the visitor checked out of the penthouse. The invisible man would be alone again but something inside of him had changed. He was ready to leave his cave and share what he learned with his family and with anyone that would listen to his story. He was ready to publish all the good that this visitor had done for him.

As the visitor gave his new friend a hug good-bye, he gave the invisible man enough money to get through the storms that were ahead. "Consider this an advance for the story I have asked you to share", the visitor said. "A new life awaits anyone who hears your story and passes it along to others. The world needs some good news."

The invisible man shed a few tears as he watched the visitor's plane ascend into the clouds. His life had changed forever and now it was time to publish every day until the end of time. The only way he could repay the visitor for changing his life was to keep his promise and share everything he learned. The invisible man knew that his friend would be back and he wasted no time getting started on his new job, publishing all the good that his friend, Jesus, had done for him.

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