the white haired woman in blue


Yesterday my dad and I were walking to the bank, enjoying the crisp, breezy, warm fall weather. The white haired woman in blue saw us. We didn’t see her, but she saw us. 
Her hair was tucked at the nape of her neck in a messy braid, and wisps of white framed her face. (I remember her braid because I hope to someday have long white hair in a long white braid. I think it’s so beautiful.) Her light blue cardigan bordered on grey, and her face held years of living.

She whispered for some spare change. Later, we realized what she asked us. In the moment, we weren’t sure. Her lips formed words that were hard to understand as result of the teeth that were absent from her mouth.

So we walked away.

We walked away from the white haired woman in blue, leaving her to fend for herself, to ask someone else for a quarter or dime or dollar.

We walked down the street, quiet for a long moment, until my dad turned to me and said, “I can’t help but wonder when that happens... if that could be Jesus.”

I didn’t tell him, but I highly doubted it. Jesus wouldn’t be in the small little sweet town of Dundas. Jesus would be in Africa, or Thailand or India. Jesus would be in the slums, in the homes of the prostitutes, in the hut of a dying man.

But surely... not in Dundas.

I couldn’t get the conversation to leave my head. And as I was lying in bed last night trying to find sleep, I felt a whisper on the edge of my heart.

You shall be richly rewarded, for when I was hungry, you fed Me. And when I was thirsty, you gave Me something to drink. I was alone as a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your homes and into your lives. I was naked, and you gave Me clothes to wear; I was sick, and you tended to My needs; I was in prison, and you comforted Me.... I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me.

Guilt felt like it was going to swallow me up. I didn’t feed you, Lord. Or welcome you into my home or life. I left the white haired woman in blue alone.

I left Jesus standing on King Street yesterday. And I only wish I could run back to that woman and press the dollar that was weighing heavy in my wallet into her withered hand. photography by Tobias Clarke

(Matthew 25:35) .