In the season two promo of Bone Collector on the Outdoor Channel--one of the top-rated hunting shows on television--I played a homeless man who is magically transformed into a hunter by the stars of the show, Michael Waddell, Nick Mundt and Travis "T-Bone" Turner.
During a lull in the filming of the promo--in a few moments that seemed surreally suspended in time--I had a transformative experience with an actual homeless man.
The director and crew were across the street, discussing the next scene with the three stars of thew show who were in a large, black truck with tinted windows. Everyone was obscured by the truck and, because we were mostly using natural light, there wasn't a lot of production equipment in view.
From where I was sitting by myself on an overturned milk crate at the curb, waiting for the shooting to resume, I watched an old, bedraggled man come around the corner and make his way along the sidewalk toward me, pushing a two-wheeled cart loaded with all his belongings. I confess my discomfort that he would stop and ask me for money or engage me in conversation.
Instead, he walked past me without speaking. Then, as he was crossing the street, he turned back and asked, "Are you hungry? I have some food that you can have."
I told him that I was fine, but he persisted, "It's okay. If you're hungry, I'll feed you." Again, I told him that I would be okay. He reluctantly said, "If you're sure," and started to walk away. Turning back again, he said, "You need to get out of this town. They don't give a damn about homeless people here." Then he turned away, walked off down the street and disappeared around a corner. A moment later, the director emerged from behind the truck, the crew reappeared and shooting resumed.
What does that say? Someone with almost nothing was ready to share his modest food supply with me, while unconsciously admonishing me as one of those who didn't give a damn about homeless people.
Anthony de Mello wrote that the final barrier to finding God is the word god itself. On that day, I had a conversation with a nameless God right there in the middle of eternity. I will never forget it.
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