Just A Nobody

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This blog was started to share the journey of what God has called me to do, serve our friends whithout homes. A long the way it has also become part of my journey as well.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Alone


I never understood for the longest time why women on the streets would bounce from one man to the next, but then you learn that it is a form of survival. Even though the women are some of the strongest  people I have met, they are still at risk when being alone on the streets . A man provides a form of protection, even though that may come at a cost to the woman. I have seen women do everything from standing on a street corner panhandling to selling them selves to make money for their man. When that man leaves for one reason or another, you see many of the women take up with another. In other cases they try to make it on their own. This is the case of one that I had a conversation with a few weeks ago. Her man will be spending about six months in jail and she says she will not get with anyone else. This has left her being a target. She stood crying, telling me how those who claimed to be her friends are now hounding her to sleep with them and if she refuses, they beat her. She said that no matter what, she won't do it, she won't give in and she will survive on her one. In the week to follow she was doing good. The next week she showed up with a couple of guys whom she said were taking care of her. The last few weeks I have not seen her and I worry about her. I pray that she is alright. Pray for these women. Pray for their safety.

Monday, February 27, 2012

HOPE

I was not conceived out of love, but out of a need of a high. She sold her body for a quick fix and in that moment the miracle of life began to form in her body. At the same moment that miracle started, I also started fighting, fighting to survive the poison that ran thru her veins. For nine months I fought to enter this world, maybe even then I had hope of a bright future.
Even after I arrived I fought to survive. She stayed clean long enough to give birth, not for my sake but for hers, for if they found drugs in her or me she would have been take in to jail and I would have been put in foster care. You see I was her meal ticket. She brought me home and she seemed to be overjoyed to have me in her life, even then I had hope she would give me a good life.
As time pasted the poison she once craved came calling again and I saw less and less of her. I would cry out in hunger, for need to be taken care of and in need of love. She had to make a choice and one day she laid me down and walked away. Alone and scared I cried out for someone, anyone to come to my rescue. Someone came, I don’t know whom, but I found myself in a home that seemed nice. I had hope that this is where I could be happy, safe and loved.
This home instead was a place of neglect and abuse. I was a monthly check for them and was left to fend for myself, again alone and on my own. As I grew older I would find myself more and more wandering the streets, looking for a place to belong, someone to care and a hope for a brighter future.
I never found any of that on the streets. I found more hurt, pain, loneliness and an escape from the world that I had once hoped in. I found the demon, the poison that ran thru my mother’s veins. The sweet release of the pain of this world, transporting me to a place with no worries, no pain and the numbness that blocked out the need for companionship or love. So now I follow in her footsteps, I sell my body to acquire a few moments of being released from this world, a few moments of feeling warm and a few moments of being transported to a place where the world seems like not such a painful place to be. A place where I forget about my hopes, hopes that in time will fade.
I now spend my days wandering the streets, trying to stay numb, trying to survive. Funny that this is how I started my life, poison running thru me, fighting to survive and this is how my life will end also. I am once again discarded, not looked upon, treated like the trash that you put out on the side of the road, this time discarded by the world. I spend my days watching you and there are times when I still have that hope I once had. Now it is a hope that one day you will see me for who I am, what I could have been and for the special person I am, but most of all I hope that one day you will look me in the eyes and tell me I matter and I am loved.

All the torment, struggles, pain and abuse I went thru all my life would be worth it if you could just tell me I have worth. When I close my eyes and take my last breath and find myself sitting at the feet of our creator, I want to look up into his eyes and with a smile on my face, I want to tell him of the wonderful person who extended a kind word, put their arms around me and for once in my life told me I had worth, but most of all showed me I was loved. I hope you are the person I will speak to him about. I will be waiting here for you to show me were I can find hope once again. You can’t miss me, there are many of us and we are all around you, you just need open eyes to see us and a loving heart to love us.
A street friend

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Taking a lesson from a friend

I just got off work today. Was complaining to myself about how tired I was and all I wanted to do was go home and lay on the couch, but needed to stop and get gas and pick up a few things at the store.
I got my gas and turned the corner to drive into the parking lot of the store and on the corner was our friend from the park. This is his corner and can be found there almost everyday. He flies a sign, but instead of taking money he prefers to work for what he gets. An older gentleman, his eyesight fading, but he has the gentlest soul about him. As I passed I waved and when he didn’t respond I remembered he couldn’t see that far and would have not know that I waved at him.
As I got out of my truck and headed into the store, he was also making his way in as well. I called out his name and caught up with him. As we walked in the store together I asked how he was doing and as usual he tells me fine, but I can see in his face that all is not well.
“So tell me what is wrong my fiend “ I said to him.

He tells me that it has been 41 months and as not had a problem until now. I didn’t understand the 41 months part and asked him to explain. He has been camping out for 41 months along the river and yesterday the police found his camp. They came thru his camp and dumped everything in the river. Everything this man owned was tossed out like trash.
I was stunned to hear this and even more stunned that this man will have to endure the cold weather with nothing to protect him from the elements. I asked what I could do for him. He said he can get a sleeping bag, but could use a new tent. I told him I would see what I could do.
He said he was grateful for the help, but told me that he was not worried and then went on to tell me that he was not upset about it. He said, “look I still have my health, I can still see somewhat, I have good friends who care about me and I have the good Lord looking after me, what more do I need. God will provide what I need.”
I looked at this man who stood before me with nothing and I mean nothing and he still was in a good mood and was smiling. Ten minutes before I was complaining to myself about being tired and wanting to go home to my warm house.

My friend stands in the bitter cold looking for someone to offer him work and he will probably spend all day outside just to receive a few bucks to make through to the next day. After spending his day doing this he then will spend the rest of his evening camped along the river trying to survive the night, just to get up and do it all over again. The next time you complain about having to get up and go to work or having to take care of the house you live in, remember our friend and remember how truly blessed you are.
By the way…if you have a tent we can give him, let me know.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two Sets of Rules

Over the years of serving those without homes, I have learned that there are unspoken rules for those who have and for those who have not. After I picked my son up from roller derby practice Monday night, I saw another example of that. It was late and we had not had dinner and decided to stop and grab a burger on the way home.


I stopped at one of local burger chains and as we went inside, there were two gentlemen who had came in as well. Both older, clean and well dressed, the only difference you could see between the two was the fact that one was carrying a backpack. The one with the backpack sat in a back corner, in a spot were no one could see him except those entering or leaving from side door. The other sat in the middle of the place in full view of anyone coming or going. The one in the back corner began playing a game of solitary and the other asked for a glass of water and sat to read the paper.


As we waited for our order, I had noticed that I knew the man in the back corner from the park and I waved and got ready to go over and talk to him. As I started over the manager of the place came out from behind the counter and started to speak to him, so I decided I would wait until she was done talking to him. My son stood with me talking to me about practice, but I kept my ear tuned to the conversation in the corner. As the conversation in the corner started to heat up, I found myself slowly inching closer to hear, my son sat down and just shook his head. I asked him “What?” He just laughed and said “We are going to be here for awhile.” Okay so by now my son knows me well enough that I can’t walk away in a situation like that.


As the manager left I walked over to ask what the problem was and what was going on. Our park guy said he came in to wait for his wife to get off work. Let me give you a little back ground on our park guy. He has lost his job and has not been able to find work. His wonderful wife has been able to find work, part time at a radio station just down the street from the burger joint. Because of only part time work, the only place they have to stay is in the camper they have. Neither is on drugs or drinks. Very wonderful people who only are trying to make it in this world. Back to the manager, she had stated to him that he would have to leave, they there was a policy that stated that you could only stay in the place for thirty minutes, unless you were a paying customer. He explained that he was only waiting for his wife to get off work and would not be there long. She didn’t care and wanted him out. If he didn’t leave she was going to call the police.


Now besides my son, myself, the other older gentleman reading the paper, the only other person in the place was our park friend. I asked the manager “If this gentlman has to leave, then why is the other not asked to leave as well?” “That’s different, he comes often and is not bothering any of the costumers.” She stated. I asked her “what costumers are being bothered by our friend sitting in the corner, there is no one in here.” “It’s just different for him” she stated.


“So let me get this right. Our friend can’t stay because he is not a paying costumer and the other can stay because he asked for a glass of water that he didn’t pay for?”


“Yes, it’s different” she said.


“So were is your policy posted that you can only stay thirty minutes unless you are a paying customer?”


Once again she didn’t have a strait answer and could not show anywhere that it was posted. I asked how someone was to know that policy just walking in off the street, still no answer. She then stated that he needed to get out and promptly walked off. So I promptly walked over to our friend reached in my purse and pulled a five-dollar bill. Are you hungry or thirsty I asked him? No, I just wanted to wait for my wife; she will be off work soon. I said go buy something to drink, even if you don’t drink it and sit back down, you will then be a paying customer and they won’t have any reason to ask you to leave. He smiled, took the bill and walked to the counter. The same lady looked at him and refused to take his order, so my son and I stood with him until someone waited on him. Finally someone took his drink order and we all sat and chatted for a while.


My son and I had to leave, but as we were leaving our park friend handed me back the change from the drink. I told him to please hold onto it and if she came back to make him leave again, go over and buy something else and you just keep doing that until your wife gets off work. We laughed, hugged and left, telling our friend that we would see him soon.


Now before anyone gets upset, I do know that restaurants can’t just let people come in and hangout. They are there to make money. My point to all this is we have two different people doing the same thing. Coming in to a place that is pretty much empty, neither buying anything and both minding their own business in different parts of the restaurant. One who did not buy anything, but has been in from time to time is allowed to stay. The other because he is homeless was asked to leave. She stated he was bothering customers (the only customers were us and he was not bothering us) and who was she to determine who was worthy enough to sit and stay inside?


Once again the unspoken rules for those who have and those who have not, for those who are accepted by society and those who have been rejected. When will we be begin to look at others and see the worth and beauty they have inside of them and not determine a persons value based on their appearance or what processions they may have?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Lesson in Giving

Today was a great day in the park. There were only three of us to serve, Kathryn and James were there to help, and others had things to do today. I was a head of schedule before going down and I should have known things never go that well. Every time I think I am a head of getting things done, something throws me off course. I got to the park and sure enough, I grabbed the wrong totes, and so no plates, ladle or anything else I needed to serve. Hey at least I remembered the tables (yes, I forgot them once and had to serve out of the back of the truck). We did have the bowls for the soup and we made makeshift plates, used a cup to scoop soup and so forth. The guys laughed and said it was like camping.


Right before we served one of the guys came up and out of a hat dumped some change on the table; this is for you he said. We all decided to take up what we had to give back for what you all do here, it is the end of the month and this is all we had, but wanted you to have it. We love you guys and we just want to show you how much we appreciate you all he said.

What really was a shock was the person whom it came from. This man we met last year. A loner, would come and eat, not look you in the eyes and barely say anything. Would always take his plate and take off away from us. Each week we would just keep loving on him when he came thru the line and over time he would start to warm up to us. If you saw him then and now you would not have believed he was the same person. He is one of the first there to greet us now, always ready to engage in conversation and today for the first time I heard him very softly say “I love you.”

So there on the table laid a little over four dollars, but in my mind it was a million. They dug deep in their pockets and gave all that they had to show how much we mean to them. They gave with love from their hearts, not asking for anything in return…they gave out of love for another. An example we can learn from. I walk away from the park today thinking of my friends there and think about what a honor it is to be called friend by them and what a blessing it is to spend time with them each week.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend our fourth anniversary of serving in the park and as we close on our fourth year and begin our fifth, I pray that we will be able to continue loving on those who others have forgotten.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ANGELS

What a beautiful day in the park. The sun shinned brightly on the park today. Secretly wishing we could have days like this every Sunday, but was reminded by many of our friends of the cold that was going to be upon us soon.


Wonderful people to share the day with, not just our friends in the park, but all that showed up to help serve and those who brought food. Thanks to all of you that help. Was good to see an old friend return, her kind and loving heart was missed and also missed those who could not be with us this weekend. All of you bring so much more to the park than words can say.

My son and I had stayed for a little while today, just wanted to sit and hang out with everyone in the park. One of the guys came up to me, he has been coming down for a long time and he said he had something for me. He pulled out of his pocket a metal angel on a chain. He said that he had traded something for it and as he was sitting at the picnic table with the others, they all decided that I should have it. He said that he heard I like crosses and angels and that I like to hang them on my wall at home. I told him that was correct. Would you please take this one and hang it on your wall he asked. I would love to hang it on the wall, I told him and every time I see it I will be reminded of you.

As the two of us stood talking, I started to think of his gift to me. He traded something for it. Our friends’ possessions are few and what they do have, they hang onto dearly. He could have traded it for something he could use or needed, but instead he gave it with a generous loving heart, knowing it would bring joy. He gave out of love and that is what makes this gift so precious.

I then asked him if I could hang it on my rearview mirror instead of the wall of my house. I told him that at home I would see from time to time on the wall, but in my truck I would be reminded of him and the others everyday as I traveled about doing things. He thought that was a great idea. James, my son, carefully put the angel on the mirror; we talked with the gentleman a little longer and headed home.

On my rearview mirror I have had a cross that was made by a biker many years ago and as we started down the road the angel would clang against that cross. I wasn’t a loud clang, but a soft gentle sound. Not distracting, but a reminder of “I am here”. I started to think of the angel, our friends in the park and those who come to serve. Are some angels in disguise? I don’t know. I do know that when I step back on days like today, watch and listen to all around me, I see the beauty of my Creator, the giving heart of my heavenly Father and love that was so poured out to us thru his Son. Each week I look into faces of all who show up, no matter which side of the table they are on and I am humbled and honored to be there with them.

So my little clanging angel will stay on my rearview mirror. A reminder of all those angels I encounter each Sunday. A reminder of all the love that is poured out from both sides of the table.

Monday, August 22, 2011

From the pages of Rick Dorey

Pastor Rick and his wife April have been coming to the park now for awhile. He has written many things on the park and I would like to share them with you. Below is a link to his latest blog...take a moment to read it. Be blessed and remember your loved.
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fnewchoicesfellowship.org%2Fslider%2Fface-grace%2F&h=-AQBOBmKOAQAoRfblOacK0vTRBsENJckl8UvxSpkv_FH6tQ