The Kingdom Invisible

The Kingdom Invisible August 30, 2016

Christ was a woman sitting as I had been, slumped against a brick wall at the shopping center near the bank. She was crying heavy tears; her voice was a parched whisper. “Ma’am, can I use your phone?”

I didn’t have a phone, but I sat to talk with her. Her son, she said, had been life-flighted to Pittsburgh after being at the local hospital for days. He wasn’t expected to live much longer. They wouldn’t let her ride in the helicopter, and her friend couldn’t drive her to Pittsburgh until they got gas for the car, so she’d been panhandling in the parking lot for hours but no one would help or listen.

Now, I realize it could be that she was lying about her son, telling a story to win sympathy. Visible people have told me that panhandlers like to manipulate. Maybe she needed the money for something else. Maybe her tears were actually from her own hunger, or from withdrawals. I’ve learned that sometimes invisible people lie because they think it’ll make them more likely to be seen by anyone who can help. But her tears, whatever the cause, were real, and my invisible God commands me to comfort the suffering, whether or not I know they’re being honest. I gave her the little cash I had in my purse. I sat with her while she cried; I kept an eye out for police cars. I knew that people who had never been invisible will often call the police on panhandlers in that parking lot. They’ve been arrested or chased off the property many times. I asked if I could buy her anything for lunch with my food stamp card, since I didn’t have anything else to give.

She was too nervous to eat, but she asked me to buy her a Pepsi.

I went into the store by myself. Sometimes, if they catch you buying food for a beggar, the store employees will chase the beggar away or have her arrested, so she waited outside. I bought two bottles of Pepsi from the cooler.

When I came out, police cars were circling the parking lot.

I looked up and down the lot for her, but she was nowhere to be found. I knew that she’d run when she saw the police, or perhaps they’d arrested her. But I like to imagine that the angels, themselves invisible, came and carried her away to paradise. I pretend that they took her to the Kingdom Invisible, where her son was already waiting. She and he shine brighter than suns, together with the whole host of invisible people the Lord has gathered to Himself. There, they have no shame. There, everyone can see them and Christ enthroned within them; there, the angels marvel at their beauty and wouldn’t dream of looking away. No one will ignore them or chase them off again.

That was what I told myself as I rode home on the bus, with two bottles of Pepsi for an invisible woman.

My kingdom is not of this world. My kingdom is invisible to the world. Someday, for those who still have eyes, all things will be revealed. Lord, that we might see.





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