White Bands and Those Words, by Ali Siemens

As I sit here waiting to board my last flight, I can’t help but turn my body towards this gentleman and lean in, all the while smiling …like a true American creeper. His Portuguese is like sugar to my cake. Cheese to my crackers. Sandbox to a playground.  Airports are some of my favorite places to be. Here I am. Inspired to write, yet again, as the whispering of this traveler’s heart is in Brazil.


The last two weeks, I have been reminded over and over of another dear man’s face. Wind-blown skin, once bright-blue eyes fading more into a darker grey from years spent wandering. Wild blonde hair that almost fell over his face to hide his rosy cheeks. Those cheeks were triggered in response to whatever bottle he had just consumed. His leg was in a brace along with a bandaged hand, and the cleanest article on him was the white hospital band around his wrist which implied he was just released from the hospital.  I m not sure that the doctor would have prescribed quite that type of self medication he was actively doing…


But now here I am standing in front of him.  I guess you could say my friend and I walked right into his room. He had a nice view from his place; it was right on the river. These two iron benches were right in front of a path that many people take to be active outside.  It was under a massive tree that would protect them from any nasty weather that would try to evict them from their home. He had one friend next to him on a bench and another one was taking a snooze sprawled out on the other.


A couple friends and I had gone out one evening and were handing out Happy Meals to people who might be hungry. Ninja M called it “blessing bombs”. So here we were, ready to … bomb ’em. 😉


We asked the two alert men if they wanted some Happy Meals. Their immediate response was to throw their hands in the air and start cheering like two men glued to the TV watching the Monday Night Football game and their team had just scored. So, of course, we followed suit, raising our hands, and hollering along with them.


The liquid joy in their bellies had them pretty jolly. We chatted for a couple minutes and before we left, since this man with the bright white band was in front of me, I asked if I could pray for him.


He consented. I’ve done this enough times so I know not to close my eyes in prayer, but while I pray, I try to look into usually their wide-open eyes. Healing prayers were said over his body, and yet I just couldn’t get over that there was something more. Something was being constructed that would have beautiful flowing words and some exquisite picture.  I was waiting to see if that would sober him up and unlock what was sealed in his heart. What fumbled out of my mouth were just the simple words, “You are so loved.” And once that statement came out, I couldn’t stop saying that simple phrase over and over.


His face starting changing almost like how those cars in the Transformers movies would change by the simple words being said out loud. His wind-blown skin turned soft as tears started running down his face. His dirt-stained hands covered his mouth, and he kinda started rocking back and forth while shaking his head.


“You don’t know how long it’s been since I have heard those words”


My heart gasped at even the thought of that.


I’m told everyday that I’m loved. My family tells me. My friends tell me. My Father tells me. My life had been shaped by Love.


Here is this precious man—hungry for more than just that Happy Meal.


Our words have power. We are able to curse or bless as it says in Proverbs. Even our simple words have power.


I learned a couple things that evening:


1. If you order a lot of Happy Meals, you should call ahead of time. Who knew?

2. Love is a powerful weapon. Even just the word.


Hypothetically speaking, if I was a ninja…Love would be my weapon of choice.


So…how have you used your words today?


Ali Siemens is the Outreach Coordinator at Arise! Women