March 11, 2007

A Soul Called Leslie

This week I was talking to my friend Evette. She doesn't read my blog, but many of you from church know her, and I am sure she wont mind me retelling her story. She inspired me.
First of all let me tell you about a soul called Leslie. The first time I saw Leslie, 7-8 years ago, he was standing in the back of my church wearing a tight teal blue dress, 3" red heals, make up, bright red lipstick, his hair was and is still long, and carrying a gold purse.
He just stood as plain as day looking for a seat. My family sits on the back row, and my twins were infants at the time, so I can't say that my whole attention was on this visitor, but he certainly caught my attention.
Several people went up to Leslie and visited with him. I am assuming someone asked him to sit with them. He came back to church while he was in Abilene several times, maybe off and on for several months, but one day he decided it was time to move on. There were several people who tried to reach out a helping hand to Leslie, food, money and even some men's clothing, although he was not interested in the latter.

Leslie found his way to Austin. That is where he lives now. And that is where my story starts. My friend Evette told me she was in Austin for a teacher's conference. She knew that Leslie hung out on 6th street, and she went looking for him. She had been one of the people who had befriended Leslie in Abilene. She asked several people if they knew where Leslie was and one woman said to her, "Why would you want to find him?" and Evette said as plain as day, and very convicted, "He is my friend." She found him and visited with him on the street. She asked him if he remembered her, and he said, "Yes, you are Evette, from Abilene." Leslie works the streets. He is addicted and looks gaunt and thin. His hair is thinning. The clothes he was wearing were women's und*r g*rments and he was on the street. People that walked by knew the person he was, his character, his life, but my friend Evette talked with him as though he was a long lost friend, and she was proud to know him.

I told Evette, "God bless you. I am not sure that I would have sought out Leslie". Later on further reflection, I realized, I would never have sought out Leslie, if I would have seen Leslie in his street attire, I would have avoided him, put my eyes down and never looked up. This is a sad and sorry confession, but I would have let my fear of the unknown keep me from loving and engaging the soul called Leslie. God forgive me, help me see your children with your eyes, help me love with your compassion, help my heart break for those who you love that are lost, even when it gets messy. God bless Evette, may she continue to love with your love, and inspire me and others to get out of our comfort zones. God loves Leslie, and so must we.

There will be Leslie's in all of our lives. People that make us uncomfortable, people that don't fit our mold, people that are obnoxious and arrogant, people that hurt our feelings, but those are our Leslie's. God loves us, and we must love.


Denise W said...

I remember you telling about Leslie. I'm glad I go to a church where he could walk in the door. A church where he could come back.

Blessings on Evette who reached out to Leslie, twice. I hope I can do the same....

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Wow, what a story! To think God loves Leslie as much as He loves us makes me want to be more like Evette. Seeing beyond the exterior. It takes a conscious choice and a ton of grace to do that.

Thanks for commenting about Beth Moore studies. I might pick your brain when we decide to do the next one. Let me know which one you'd recommend most!