I remember being a confident kid that knew what was going on around me. I caught a glimpse of myself on the streets of Mumbai. The boy’s eyes were bright! He was smiling, laughing, and engaged in living. The way he reacted to everything around him told me he was comfortable. He knew the rules of the street that I was uncomfortable being on. I could see that he was having fun.
I could have told him things that he may not recognize. He knew he was poor, but did he understand how poor? He knew that the odds were against him, but did he understand that they were measured in millions and billions? He may have thought he knew. I did not.
From my comfortable perch, I was ready to make excuses for a wide range of bad behaviors. Theft, anger, and acting out were just the beginning! Shortcuts, justice, and exploitation would have been fair. There had to be someway to offset the injustice in his life! Any means could be justified if one could only see.
As I watched his attitude and behavior pushed me into a silent corner. This kid was in a difficult spot. Everything ahead of him was going to be filled with difficulty, challenges, and likely pain. Life was not going to be easy. There is a “yet”. In my time of observing he was a model kid. Engaged in life, inviting others into his smile and laughter, and extending a helping hand when nobody thought he cared. I was embarrassed by my memories of my actions.
It was as if this street child had heard Wisdom’s advice. “Stay where you were when God called your name. Were you a slave? Slavery is no roadblock to obeying and believing. I don’t mean you’re stuck and can’t leave.” (1 Corinthians 7.20)
I realized there is knowledge and then there is real knowledge. This kid had the latter. I find myself lifting him up to God – a nameless child of the street that knows more about living than I often demonstrate.