A Bench In The Mist

Palace Of Fine Arts in San FranciscoThe summer’s evening air was quite warm. I asked my husband to take me into San Francisco to take some photographs. The moon had been so bright the past couple nights I thought it’d be an opportunity to capture it off of the Golden Gate bridge. As we drew near the city, clouds had covered the bay and crossing the bridges, a fine mist began. It wasn’t going to be possible to take pictures in this weather. We just enjoyed the drive.

At the Palace of Fine Arts, we decided to get out and chance a photo of the soft lighting against the clouds. I crossed the street to the park while my husband set up a tripod. That was when I saw them. A figure huddled on a bench in this chilly mist. I didn’t know if it was a man or woman because they were sitting upright with a blanket to cover themselves.

Sitting down next to them I struck up a conversation. A woman emerged from the blanket with a ruddy face and suspicious eyes. We made small talk about the view of the Palace before us. She shared with me how skaters had been there earlier and put on quite a show. I didn’t know any way to offer her help except to be blunt. Getting out the bills I had in my pocket I offered to share with her what I had. Lorraine gruffly told me she had money. Sensing her pride I gently spoke, “Okay, but maybe you could use a little more so you can have what is extra.” I kept enough for a toll and handed her the rest. As she took it I made sure to look away again, making more small talk.

My husband called to me to say he was done and it was time to go. Turning to Lorraine I asked her if it would be okay if I prayed for her. She didn’t get excited about it, but still she agreed. I put my hand on this woman’s shoulder and spoke of love. Wishing her a wonderful evening, I walked away to a warm truck. This woman did not belong on a bench in the chilly mist and I knew it. Whatever circumstances had brought her to this place, I prayed she would find her way back to where she truly belonged.

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