She is beautiful. She is someone’s daughter and quite possibly a mother, too. Maybe even a grandmother. But beautiful all the same. Not in the way we typically think about beauty when considering physical appearance. Although she is disheveled and covered with the grime of the street, and although she is hunched over from years of difficulty, she is one of God’s treasured creations. But she is also a lady in distress.
She stands at the foot of the Ross Island Bridge some afternoons, holding her cardboard sign. I always give her a smile, a short word of encouragement, and a little something to help her out. I also pray for her as I continue on my way, unable to stop for conversation given her location at a busy traffic confluence.
When I see her, I think of widows in distress and I wonder about her story. I should very much like to hear it, but not before helping her more substantially. Until then I simply treasure the “God bless you” she offered to me at our last encounter.