The Man in the Yellow Shirt

July 20, 2015 - India

You are the man in the yellow shirt at the metro station. You are the man in the yellow shirt who made me stop and look twice. What a rarity that is in a city like this where there is too much to do and too much chaos to stop and look. I thought you were dead. But you were alive. Your heart was still beating. Your lungs still inhaling and exhaling the same air I breathe.

After recovering from the shock, anger and lack of understanding that paralyzed me, I grabbed my friend Alyssa and bought you some water. The thought never crossed my mind that you wouldn’t be able to sit up by yourself. I was terrified as I sat you up. How fragile your bones were. If I pulled too hard your bones would break; if I didn’t pull hard enough, you wouldn’t be able to sit up. As I tried to persuade you to drink the water, I was keenly aware of the stench of your urine, feces, and body odor that covered every inch of you. The flies surrounded you. And people stared.

It has almost been two and a half weeks since you have become our person. You are the person we look for the second we approach the metro station. A sense of anger overwhelms me when I see the way that you live. Yet there is an internal storm within me because my heart says to be the hands and feet of Jesus. However, my flesh reminds me that you are dirty and that I do not know the diseases and infections that lie rampant on you. It’s a constant struggle. Do I wipe the dirt and dust off of your face or do I walk away? If I am honest with myself there are days that I choose to walk away because I don’t know how to process the fact that you are a human being that is dying on the side of the metro station and somehow that is the new normal. The days that I choose to engage and love you are hard. As I get down on my knees to wipe your face, I have to remind myself that I am not a saint but rather a sister who has come along your side for this moment in time.

I want you to know that you have captivated me. Your eyes haunt me but your face of innocence and simplicity breaks the walls of apathy that surround me.

You are dying. You, my friend, are dying and I cannot stop that. I want you to die with dignity. I want you to be clothed and clean as you enter into eternity. My last image of you is your form curled up on a pink tarp that the Sisters of Charity were using to transport you to the House of the Dying.

You are no longer the man in the yellow shirt at the metro station to me. You are so much more than that. You are the man with a story that knows sorrow, but also joy. You are my friend, my brother, my equal. I hope that I will see you on eternity’s shore resting in the arms of our Maker.

I will probably never know your name, nor you mine. But it has been my pleasure and honor to know and serve you.



Written by Keziah