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I'm Fine

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He lay under a small tree in the park across the street. Thin legs stuck out of tattered khakis. One pants leg hiked up to his knee, one down. Scaly skin burned by the hot Florida sun.

I noticed the dark-skinned man with the shopping cart while I walked my dog. At first, I felt awkward and didn’t know which way to look. After a few days, I waved or offered a greeting, and then I decided to feed him.

I can’t reach all the homeless people in the world, but I can reach one, I reasoned.

For several days I packed a lunch for him. At first, he just waved and nodded. After a few days, I asked him his name.

“Terry,” he said avoiding eye contact. A few days later I brought him a meal packaged in a to-go container that had on it.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Recently, as my dog, Sam and I exited the park I passed by Terry’s usual spot and gave him a meal. He patted Sam, smiling. I faced him.

“Terry, I was thinking, I love to pray for people. Is there anything that I can pray for you this week?” His eyes remained downward. He said something.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

“I’m fine.”

“I’m fine,” echoed in my mind all day.

Sometimes I answer, “I’m fine,” when asked about my spiritual condition when actually I’m sitting under a tree. Dirty, hungry, destitute.

Rags of spiritual apathy cover my shriveled body. I cling to the shopping cart next to me filled with my worldly treasures—dirty bags of materialism and self-centeredness. I’m spiritually starved and don’t even know it. I think I’m fine, afraid to admit my need. Afraid of losing my earthly, shopping-cart-treasures.


Jesus said in ,

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (NLT)

I call it IIH stock. Investing in Heaven. If we really believe what the Bible says, then our life on this earth is a pin-dot compared to eternity. This world isn’t our home, heaven is.

But, do we live like it?

I haven’t seen Terry in a while. Maybe he’s moved on or the police have moved him on. Chances are, he’s still holding onto that shopping cart full of bags.

But, he’s fine.

How about you? What’s in your shopping cart?

Is it materialism, or addiction, or control? The list of the world’s baggage is endless. Will you do something about it?

1 John 1:9 states,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (NKJV)

It feels good to be clean. It’s a blessing to drop that baggage.

Don’t say, “I’m fine.”

Copyright © Pauline Hylton, used by permission.

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About The Author


Pauline Hylton is a freelance writer and exhausted farmer who lives outside of Mayberry on an old tobacco farm. She and her husband Tom tried farming full time, but ran out of back. Now Tom works, and Pauline stays home and eats dark chocolate. She has company: a standard poodle, two mutts, a lion-kitty, and a whole “mess” of chickens. Oh yeah, and there’s Molly, the great Pyrenees guards the chickens 24/7, and she’s good at it. When she doesn’t eat one. Pauline’s looking toward heaven, while laughing on earth. She loves her Lord, her family, and dark chocolate—not necessarily in that order

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