Recently Kashmira was walking home from the bus stop by herself in the early evening. We have often seen a homeless family (3 young children) sleeping on the sidewalk, right in the middle of the Loop where guys are waiting for customers._ On this particular night these children were still awake and in the middle of something akin to a pillow fight. Kashmira stopped and squatted down to say hello to them, and promptly found herself caught up in a combination of play and English practice._ Eventually she asked the children if they lived here with their mom and dad and they answered in unison, “Yes, we live here with our mom and dad…” and then the littlest – an 8 year old girl – continued by saying, “But our dad died this morning.” Kashmira: “Confused, I thought maybe I misheard her or that she was referring to something else until their mom came from down the block to see who I was. I greeted her with a smile and asked if it was okay for me to visit with the children._ She answered, “Yeah, that’s no problem…their dad died today.”_ I asked what happened and they tripped over each other to answer until eventually I understood: “The police arrested him, they beat him up and then…he died.” Even more unsettling than their announcement was the total lack of emotion on all of their faces._ When I told the mother how sorry I was to hear this she responded with “Mai pen rai – we’re fine, no big deal.” I just happened to have some coloring pens and paper in my bag, and as I pulled them out the oldest one eagerly asked, “Are you giving these to us??” I answered, “Yes, I’m giving them to you.” So we sat together, coloring on the sidewalk, drawing trees and hearts and no smoking signs, just like normal kids whose father hadn’t died that morning. It got to be rather late, and when I asked the children if they had eaten yet, they said no. So with their mother’s permission I took them to get some food._ They ate dinner and then I brought them back with some food for their mom, who was by then intoxicated and nearly asleep, said goodnight, and finished walking home. These three children will remember this day – they will only ever have one day where their father was beaten and killed… and if it wasn’t for God allowing me to walk past them, prompting me to be present for them, these kids would have gone to bed with empty tummies._ But God loves and cares for this family, and he did use me to love them – even in such a small and simple way – and at least on that most terrible of days they were able to lay down to sleep on the sidewalk without hunger tormenting them, and with new coloring pens in their backpack. Walking, praying and venting to God I felt Him reminding me of the Bible verse, “Its my kindness that leads you to repentance” and was suddenly completely overwhelmed with the deep kindness of God._ Horrible things happen in this world every day, but Jesus weeps alongside those who are weeping – and even alongside those who are not yet able to weep. Suddenly I felt so significant – even in my smallest of acts of love._ These three children will remember this day – they will only ever have one day where their father was beaten and killed…and if it wasn’t for God allowing me to walk past them and prompting me to be present with them with what I had to give, these kids would have gone to bed with empty tummies._ But God loves and cares for this family, and he used me to love them – even in such a small and simple way – and they will at least lay down to sleep on the sidewalk without hunger tormenting them, and with new coloring pens in their backpack._ Most likely life will get harder for them before it gets easier, but I trust the Jesus that I know to watch over these children and to continue to bring people like myself to love them and bring them a little reason to smile.