Four years ago I wrote this on a mission trip to San Francisco with my son, and it still affects me today.
Sometimes the drug dealer is friendly and charming and wants to joke with me and tell me about how he went to church last Sunday.
Sometimes the homeless man looks like Santa Claus but says if his wife were still alive he would get a haircut for her, then he tells the story of the day she died fifteen years ago and I want to cry like when I'm watching a Nicholas Sparks movie.
Sometimes the homeless woman pushes around dolls in a cart because her daughters died in a fire when they were young, and she collects stuffed animals for them including a stuffed giraffe named Fluffy.
Sometimes the druggie is so strung out that I don't think he will remember me, but I pray for him anyway, and when I see him the next day and make him smile by calling his name, I realize it's more about me remembering him.
Sometimes the gay guy without any pants on is the most thankful resident in the apartment complex where we go to deliver meals, and he opens the door twice to tell us what beautiful people we are.
Sometimes the woman who looks like a gangster acts like a comedian, and she calls our whole group over to wrap her arms around us and pray.
Sometimes the transvestite knows more about the Bible than I do.
And sometimes those dirty streets seem more like streets of gold because all the love and acceptance I felt on this mission trip has to be what Jesus was talking about when he said, "on earth as it is in heaven."