Surrounded by 300,000 people in the streets of downtown Nashville, music playing in every direction, we saw him. He was wearing a blue shirt. His shoes were off to the side, and he was eating a takeout meal someone had bought for him. People walked by, their heads never going lower than their phones.
We asked him how his day was, and we were struck by how… okay this man seemed. How is this man still so nice after being out here so long? How is he still soft on the inside? With nothing but the clothes on his back, and the umbrella sitting next to him, this man was overlooked. People passing by left and right. But his presence was so welcoming, we were drawn to him.
“I know the Lord has been watching over me. But I couldn’t tell you that I’m living my life for the Lord, you know? It’s not like I go about my day for Him or anything like that. I try to be a good person but I really only know of Him.”
Conversation continued as we shared our lemonade with him.
“Do you have any family?” We asked.
“No one. No family, no friends, it’s just me.” He replied simply.
As we started to tell him more about the guy who had changed our life, the one who had forgiven us for all the crap we’d done, he just listened.
We told him that he was seen. Loved. Accepted. That he could have a better friend than he’d ever had before. That someone died for him, forgiving him of all the things he’d ever done wrong.
Silence filled that little part of the street we occupied. People walked on, inches from where we sat.
“So what do you think?” We asked. “We gonna do this thing? Are we gonna pray this prayer?"
Kelvin looked down then, not saying anything. And it was like we were the only people in Nashville, Tennessee. A minute went by with no response, and then it hit. Tears streamed down his face. His shoulders began to shake as he tried to hold it in. This was a man we could’ve easily walked by because he had a hot meal and clothes on his back. “You ready?” We asked again, all in tears by this point.
“Yes, I’m ready,” He said, wiping away the tears.
And as we held his hands, we prayed a prayer that shifted his destiny. In the midst of holiday festivities, we got to witness the forgiveness and love of Jesus Christ fill our friend Kelvin.
“Welcome to the fam! You just gained a whole lot of brothers and sisters.” We looked up, smiling.
Kevin gave him the shirt off his back, and we handed him our two cents, knowing that the Lord could do more with our little than we could do on our own. It was at that moment that we noticed a Christian CD laying next to us that someone had stopped to set down. Kelvin couldn’t believe that we felt compelled to come talk to him. He couldn't believe that in the midst of the crowds, He was seen. He kept asking and asking, not understanding. What he hadn't yet experienced is that that is exactly how Jesus operates. He sees the ones no one else sees. He uses the unlikely ones you wouldn't think could make any impact. Call it impossible and watch Him prove you wrong.
He would never be lost in the sight of His Heavenly Father. In the messiness of our brokenness, He points us out and says, "That one. I want that one. Come and let me love you."
"Listen Kelvin," we warned. "Times may get hard, but always know that He never leaves you. He always sees you. Always chooses you. Always wants you. And always loves you. Never, ever forget that.
“I know this was meant to be." He said shaking his head. "I just know it. Thank you. I love you guys. My name is Kelvin, please don't forget me.”
Oh Kelvin, we'll never forget you. Of this, we are sure.