She watched as the two willowy teens stood in the doorway staring out the window while Officer Greer describe how he found them living in an abandoned building near the center of town. The teens were brother and sister, Caleb and Cassi. They weren’t twins, but they were very close in age.
Cassi was just a little shorter than her brother. She wore a baggy blue plaid flannel shirt, black leggings, and short black boots. She wore her hair in a short bob on one side with a bald fade just above the ear on the other side. Her nose ring glistened in the sunlight streaming through the window. Part of her face was covered, but Diana could tell she wore dark eye makeup and lightly tinted lip gloss.
Caleb stood close to Cassi wearing a dark gray USMC t-shirt and black joggers. He wore a severely close haircut and had a black button earring in his left earlobe as well as a barbell earring in the tragus part of the same ear. His ripped sleeve hoody revealed numerous tattoos covering his forearms and biceps that seem to pay tribute to the United States Marine Corp.
“Well, now this is an interesting pair,” Diana thought as she turned to face Officer Greer who was finishing up his talk about how they were good kids in need of a place to live until they graduated from high school. By looking at the pair, one wouldn’t expect to see these two cross a stage at graduation. Diana knew from experience, that most kids just needed someone to give them a chance and apparently God was designating her as that someone for Cassi and Caleb..
She smiled at the kids and said, “Welcome to Baker Street, I’m Diana Clark. You can call me Ms. Diana. You are welcome to stay, but we have rules here that I expect to be followed. Would you like to stay?” She rose from her chair to shake their hands.
Cassi let out a sigh that sounded more like relief than exasperation and Caleb gripped her hand firmly and said, “We will follow all of your rules. We have plans and we won’t be here long enough to cause trouble we will be graduating in a couple of months.”
“So, that’s it? We can stay here as long as we follow the rules? Don’t you want to run a background check on us?” Cassi fired her questions with a suspicious look on her face.
“Officer Greer brought you here. His word means something to me. He knows my expectations and limitations. If you weren’t cleared by him already, you wouldn’t be here. So, yes, Miss Cassi, that’s it. Would you like to see your rooms?”
Diana showed the teens to their rooms and introduced them to the other five residents. Baker Street was an old Victorian style house that had been converted into a shelter. There were ten bedrooms including the private suite occupied by Diana. Each resident had their own room and was required to help with housekeeping and cooking.
Cassi and Caleb settled into the routine of Baker Street and graduated the following spring along with two of the other residents. After graduation, Diana hosted a graduation party for the graduates and invited other teens who visited the center’s recreation room. During the party, Diana noticed Cassi sitting alone on a window seat watching the others enjoy the party and sat down next to her.
“Why aren’t you enjoying the party?” Diana asked.
“I am having a good time.” Cassi smiled.
“Then why are you sitting over here alone with that pitiful look on your face?
“I’m not feeling sorry for myself or nothing like that. It’s just I don’t understand how Caleb and I got so lucky.” Cassi looked solemnly at Diana. “Our mom just left us. She said it was time we figured out how to take care of ourselves and moved to Mexico with her boyfriend. We got locked out of our house and most shelters would look at us and turn us away. Why did you take us in?”
“Cassi, when I opened this shelter, I told the Lord that if He provided me with the resources I needed, I would take care of His lost teens. I learned a long time ago not to judge people by the way they look on the outside. Officer Greer told me you were good kids and I could see that you were very serious. Caleb is a walking advertisement for the Marine Corp. He had to be a decent kid to be that focused.”
“So we didn’t scare you by our looks? How did you know we wouldn’t come here and burn the place down?”
“I didn’t know, but I knew that if I followed Jesus example by looking at people through eyes of mercy, everything would be alright. Honey, mercy always triumphs over judgment.”
“What does that mean?” Cassi asked.
“That is from a scripture found in the book of James chapter two. In that scripture we learn about how we are not to judge people by the way they look. We are to show them mercy and love them. It is through the way we treat them that we will not only bless them, but we also show them the love of Christ.”
Cassi hugged Diana and said, “Thank you for loving us and taking a chance on us.”
Diana returned Cassi’s hug and whispered in her ear, “Never forget that mercy triumphs over judgment. And never forget that you are loved.”