A Voice of Poitiers

Imagine the narrow, resonating cobblestone streets underneath a grey misty sky. The sound of French voices fills the air as people stroll in and out of street-side shops with bags hanging on their arms, proof of recent purchases. Many hide under hats with furry pompoms or giant scarves to protect them from November’s chill as they walk with friends at their sides or a significant other on their arm. No one is alone.

Above the blend of voices, one stood out as it sang an old tune, accompanied by the skillful strum of a wooden guitar. It was a deep, raspy sound that came from deep within to send a chill down the spine of any attentive listener, however, it’s charm fell on many deaf ears; all except two. Two girls followed the song to it’s source and found a slim, grey-haired, middle-aged man with an open guitar case at his feet. His eyes followed passerbys as he sang and the girls stood smiling and taking in the uniqueness of his voice.

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Our busker

There was something else about his voice; a result of the emotion with which he sang. Despite the lyrics of love and joy, a frown sat on his face; a frown that was probably the reason so many passed him by without a second glance. It was only after the song came to an end that the girls saw another side to the musician. It became very evident that he wasn’t a Frenchman but rather an English immigrant. The girl who could speak English and understand him couldn’t help but be shocked by this man’s bitter speech. Despite his bitterness, the girl spoke calmly in an effort to abate the man’s anger, encouraging him that a smile and a better attitude might be the difference between a passerby and listener’s donation. Twenty-some minutes later, the girl ended the encounter by singing “Amazing Grace” and giving a donation of her own.

Fast-forward to a couple months later, the same girl who had spoken to this Englishman was walking the same streets with some friends of hers when she passed the same man accompanied by his faithful guitar. She offering a quick “hello” before following her friends into a store, but there was something that tugged at her. With a quick word to her friends, she left the store and made her way to the singer who had just decided to break. The man greeted her and immediately began speaking (being a man with a lot to say), only this time with personal complaints. He didn’t complain about the French, or the cold that made playing the guitar a difficult task, but rather he confided in the girl. It’s at this point that she realized that this man, whom she’d only talked to a couple times, had enough trust in her to tell her about things that the next person over might’ve kept to himself.

***

This little novel-ish type post (a little different than my previous posts) has been in my drafts for several months now, and I’ve decided to share it with you all now. I’m a girl who loves to meet people, and this true story tells of an encounter I had last year with a lost, angry, and broken man whose name I won’t reveal to protect his privacy. Before meeting him, I’d never met someone so angry with the world and I’ll admit that it had shocked me. My view on life compared to his seemed to be completely opposite, yet he allowed me to become his friend.

I wanted to share this encounter with you all and ask you to help me pray for this man who so desperately needs to feel God’s love, and who needs to know that his life is more than a mere existence, but that he is valued by a heavenly Father who wants to give him a life filled with His joy and His purpose.

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