I met Mr. Charles C. today. His last name is so super cool, oh how I wish I had gotten permission to tell you.

He greeted me with a “Hey there movie star!” and a big smile as I approached the coffee shop door. There was something about his smile, the sweet words of recognition and memory of a sermon/invitation/mission Pastor Rudy Rasmus offered at St. John’s Downtown last Sunday that made me pause to meet Mr. Charles.

“Hey there movie star. You are sure shining this morning. Movie star, you think you could help me with $4 to get a bunk at the mission tonight.”

A number things went through my mind, if I am honest. Not one thought of regret for stopping, but the prevailing thought that went through my mind was composed of the words proclaimed on Sunday.

“Hello, my name is Lanecia. What is your’s, sir?”

“Charles C. is my name,” meeting my hand reaching his for a warm “I see you” embrace. He continued, “I sing at night for money, but did not receive any last night. So I am really needing some help today.”

“You sing? What do you sing?”

“Yes, mam, I do. I sing all kinds of songs: Gospel songs, birthday songs, anniversary songs, jazz songs for movie stars.” 🙂 He responded with a smile competing with the sun this morning.

“Well, will you sing me a song this morning. I love music. I need more in my life.”

He began to sing a song about love, peace and an encounter with a movie star. Hilarious! On any other day I would have given him props for knowing exactly what to do to manipulate/flatter/break open (or whatever you want to call it) this lady’s generosity door, but the Spirit had already beat him to it through another means.

Once he finished we talked a minute or two about his knowledge of the Bread of Life and St. John’s Downtown. Turns out he had worshiped with us a few times in the past and had lots of love/respect for the campus. He told me about a dream on his heart and sung me another song that he wanted to sing, “Thank you for sending an angel to rescue me.” His gratitude for God’s blessings in his life were evident with each word that flowed from his lips.

We talked a bit more and then I begin to search for his gift.

“It’s your day, Mr. C., because this lady does not carry cash. Just have it this week because my pastor spoke a word that compelled my heart to share in a movement this week. So… here you go, friend.”

He smiled again. Oh that smile, it reminded me of my Grandfather Davis. “Thank you movie star,” he said.

We walked a few steps, he asked me what I do in Houston. I told him about the art project, we talked some about the project, I gave him my business card and we decided it would not be our last time encountering each other.

He went his way, I went mine… both smiling and saying “God bless you”, though I noticed his was weighed a bit with the long hard day a head he told me about. I walked into the cafe, used my last remaining dollars of goodness on a gift card to purchase a warm cuppa joe and was gifted with this message on my “americano for here”:

Thankful for it all.

“Every day, the world invites you to make a difference. You only need to recognize these invitations and respond in a way that suits your ambitions, your values, your resources and your passion.”

-Bill Strickland