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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quick Update on the Park-Sunday 20, 2008

Went down as usual to the park Sunday. There was a Blues Festival going on so the park was crowded. It was kind interesting to observe. Hundreds of people attending this festival and not more than a hundred yards away, there were at least a hundred people without homes. One of the men said the music was good. I asked him why he didn’t go over and enjoy the bands? He said we were asked to leave, that people felt uncomfortable with us there. I about blew my top. Come on people, are we all not entitled to the same privileges as everyone else? Just because someone has less than you, that doesn’t not make them less of a person. My question to you is “why did you feel uncomfortable, what was your heart really trying to tell you?”

I was able to get shoes to the woman who needs them. I did end up taking her and her boyfriend to the hospital after the park though. They had foot rot so bad it was infected and needed looked at. Was able to supply some needed clothing to some down there. Took care of Snakes phone bill so he would not end up back in jail(needs it to keep in contact with his PO). He is trying so hard and everything keeps coming against him. Took him to one of his mandatory meetings tonight and on the way back home he just poured out his heart. I am praying he stays clean and out of trouble. His girlfriend just had a miscarriage, so if you can lift up a prayer for her.

Each week when I go to the park, it seems like God teaches me something new or shows me something through these wonderful people. This week was no different. After my rounds through the park, I usually end up sitting and talking to a few people. This week the group I was engaged with showed me a lot. There were about seven to eight of us sitting there, a Vietnam vet, a former drug dealer, a couple of addicts, two older ladies, a transvestite and a few others. We sat and talked about life and issues they were facing, their hopes and dreams, we cracked jokes and had a good time. As I sat there, you begin to look past the outer layers and you see the person behind it all. You see the person who wants to be seen, the person who longs to be accepted and the person who longs to be loved for who they really are. As I sat there, I thought if I took this misfit group to church what would happen? Would they be greeted with the same warm smile and handshake as others? Would people be willing to engage with them and offer a seat next to them? Would they be asked to comeback again? Sad to say in most (not all) of our churches today, they would not be welcomed warmly. People we really need to get passed our ideas of what is acceptable. There is a world of people out there that are crying out and we are hiding behind our four walls. I am not saying we all need to go to the park and hang out like I do, but just open your eyes to the real person behind the exterior. My friends continue to show me each week what it mean to truly accept and love someone for who they are. Sometimes I think they show the heart of God more than some of us. Let’s look at people for what God has created them to be, not what the world has said they have become. So, that’s my little rant for the week….Love To You All!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Concrete Jungle

I took one of the guys from the park to physical therapy today. I took a note pad and thought while I wait I will write a letter to a friend. I began to write and when it was all said and done, this is what was on the page.

The Concrete Jungle

I awoke this morning to the sweet smell of fresh flowers and the beautiful songs of the birds. Were these songs just for me? As the sun crept over the mountain and the rays of sunshine hit my face, is that you God, smiling upon me? As I rolled up my bedding and packed it away in my pack, I emerged from my camp thinking today will be different. Today, as everyday I will enter the jungle, fighting to survive, searching for food, searching for a place to belong. I will walk the concrete jungle looking for hope.

As I started my search, the young man in the business suit caught my eye. He looks familiar I thought. He rushed by in such a hurry, not once noticing me there. He carries warm coffee in one hand and breakfast in another. My stomach growls with hunger. I thought back to songbirds. I didn’t have one crumb to share with them this morning, yet they shared their beautiful songs with me.

The sun beats down on my face and my feet begin to become weary from walking all day. I cannot stop for to long. I will be shoed away, told we can’t have your type just hanging around. Hey, there you are again. Still in a hurry I see, this time to meet with a friend for lunch. As you sit in the outdoor cafĂ©, sharing lunch and laughing with your friend, you still don’t see me. Do you know that I would go without a morsel all day, if I could only share your company for a brief moment? I to will have my lunch today as well. I will go around back and wait for what you have not eaten; the only difference is I will be having mine alone.

The day is drawing to an end. My back aches from carrying my pack and my feet ache from walking all day. You emerge from your office, rushing to get home to your wonderful wife and kids. She probably has dinner waiting for you. I will walk down to the mission tonight and eat with all the other concrete explorers. We will discuss weather or not anyone found what we were searching for, hope.

I have returned to my camp, hidden deep in the bushes along the river, were no one could find me. As I spread out my bed and curl up for the night, I think of you in your warm comfortable bed. Did you see how beautiful the Lord painted the sky tonight, or were you to busy rushing around? I have put away part of bread from dinner. I will save it for the songbirds in the morning. Tomorrow I will awake once again, God willing and I will once again become a concrete explorer. I will continue on my search for hope and maybe tomorrow you will see me as the wonderful creation God made me. As I watch you in your busy day, I now know why you look so familiar to me. I am you, you see, I once had all that you have, the job, money and family, but one unforeseen circumstance has brought me here. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would extend my hand and show them and give them the hope they so desperately search for. I would not hide it, keeping it all to myself. Good night my friend, maybe tomorrow is the day I will find what I am searching for. If I had it, I would surely share it with you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday in the Park

July 13, 2008 In the Park

Lately I have had a few people who have asked if I would write each week and let them know what is happening in the park on Sunday’s. So, wonderful people I will try and blog, keeping you informed as to the happenings of the park and my friends without homes.

This past Sunday, I over slept and was not able to make it to church, but it gave me an opportunity to go to the park early. I spent about five hours down there that day, mostly just sitting and talking.

I met some new faces and got a chance to catch up with some old ones. I saw Snake (Will) gave him a butt chewing…LOL. I met Will about a month ago, he is in his early twenties, and the day I met him he was released from prison two days prior. I remember that day very well; he talked my ear off and would walk away to see old friends, but always returned to talk some more. He is a beautiful sweet young man and something about him just tugs at my heart. I had not seen him in a few weeks and was beginning to wonder what happened to him. Then this Sunday he shows up, “Hi, ma how’s it going” he says and gives me a big hug (he loves to be hugged).“ What do you mean hi ma, how’s it going? Where the heck have you been? I have been worried about you,” I asked. To my excitement, Will has a job, has been to any support group he can make it too and has stayed clean. He gave me his cell number so we can keep in touch on weeks I don’t see him. I thank God for the work he is doing in this young mans life. If the Lord lays it on your heart please pray for him, he has a job but has fallen behind on his phone bill, if he doesn’t have his phone, he can’t contact his PO and that could land him back in jail. So, please pray that finances come thru for him.

I also met two older ladies that I have not seen before. We sat and talked for hours. I really felt badly for these women. One had left her things in one of the shelters, was told that they would be safe there, when she returned all she owned was gone. She asked if I had any shoes, she had none. I did not have any on that would fit her. The other lady with her asked if I had a band-aid, I didn’t, but asked why she needed one. She showed me her feet from walking all day, they were so dry and cracked that they were bleeding and she was in pain. The first lady said she was going to try and sell the bracelet she had to someone downtown, so the two of them could get some things. She says she will not panhandle. I don’t normally do it, but I told her to keep her bracelet and I gave her what I had.

While sitting and talking to these ladies, there was an older gentleman who came up and we chatted off and on and joked around. I really don’t think anyone there knew him, but he just wanted to sit and talk. I felt he just wanted a sense of belonging for even a brief moment. These are the ones that are hard to leave at the end of the day. When you sit and talk, a sparkle comes to their eyes, not because of what I do, but because they are being accepted and acknowledged and loved. When I go to drive away, I see them once again hang their heads and they walk back to the world that no longer sees them or accepts them. They become nothing again in the eyes of the world. How my heart breaks when I see this. No human being deserves to be treated like this.

Moose (Jim, another young man) was there. I met him through my son, when he went down with me one week. My son knew him back in the day. The younger kids are hard to reach sometimes and I think Moose warmed up to me faster, because he knew my son. He asked if I had any clothing and also let me know of some of the needs in the park, which is helpful. When I ask what I can help with, quite often I get the response that it is okay they can do without. It amazes me how humble people who have nothing can be.

There are many more I could tell you about, but it would take a book. I did promise to find a pair of shoes that would fit her and get them to the older lady. I promised Moose that I would see what I could do about clothes for him and some of the others. James, my son, shocks me sometimes. He heard what was needed and immediately went to his closet and handed me a pile of clothes, saying take it I don’t need it as much as they do. I will do the same and if any of you out there feel a need to do some spring-cleaning in your closet, I know some folks who could really use it.

Once again, I want to thank each and every one of you that have help with donations for the park. You have touched my heart and I know you have touched the hearts of my friends. Many said to tell you “Thank You and God Bless You!”

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Part you don’t see when you give!

This past week and a half, I have been really blessed by people with very loving and generous hearts. There are many times we give because we see or hear of a need. When we do give, we get to see one aspect or result of that giving, but we rarely get to see or experience how that giving has impacted other people. Being down in the park with my friends without homes, I get to see that impact of your giving.

A little over a week ago Pam and her family came thru Boise on their way to Denver. It was late, people were tired, but Pam and her daughter Rose sat in my kitchen that night helping make sandwiches for the park. They did it with joy in their eyes and love in their hearts. They gave of themselves for those who do not have.

Two loving women, who have become very special people in my life, asked if they could help with things for the park. These two beautiful women, Terrica and Dianna, took me to Costco and purchased, cases of bottled water, socks and chips. With what funds that were given to me, I was able to purchase lunch meat, bread and other things needed in the park. They gave not knowing what these precious gifts mean.

My friends in the park are very special to me and I want to thank each of you for your wonderful gifts. You not only blessed me with your giving, but I would like to share with you how your gifts have blessed others, the part of the blessing you can’t see.

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:35-36

I stood in Costco crying not just because of the generosity of these women, but as I looked at the cases of water, each bottle represented a person to me. A person who is sitting in the park, in the middle of summer with no place to go to get out of the heat and no funds to buy something to drink. Each bottle you gave will provide a parched mouth with a fresh drink and will let them know someone cared. . “I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.”

Each sandwich that was made will feed a person who may not have eating at all that day. For some this is the only meal they will have for the day. The bag of chips I hand out, some will stash away in their backpacks. They tell me they save it for later, not knowing if they will have a meal later that evening. Because you gave, each sandwich or bag of chips will provide for an empty belly, a day they will not have to go hungry.” I was hungry and you fed me.”

Many walk the streets all day, having nowhere to go. Some will go weeks without changing their socks, because they have no others. You try walking in the heat, all day and never change your socks. Those socks you provided not only bring comfort to weary feet, but also help prevent sores. Because you gave, you brought some comfort and relief to another person. “you gave me clothing”

Because you gave, I see smiles on a worn face and their gratitude for caring. These gifts have given me the opportunity to sit, talk, listen and let them know they are loved. These gifts let them know someone sees them and cares. So, for all the thanks, smiles, hugs and I love you’s I receive in the park, I want you to know they are because of you and your willingness to give and I extend all that love back to you. Once again Thank You and I love each and everyone of you! ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Who Will Shed a Tear

I received an email the other day, from the Homeless Voice (posted in my bulletins). This email really struck my heart and still tugs at it today. It was not just the email and it’s content, but a man I met in the park, my encounter with him and how the email and him are very much a like, yet so vastly different.

In the email they spoke of Eddie a homeless man who had spent most of the last twelve years at this particular shelter. After a long stay in a hospital, Eddie’s prognosis is not good and will die soon. He was brought back to the shelter were he will spend his last days. The email stated:
.Eddie will spend his final hours with me and Lois as well as all his friends at the shelter. It is a beautiful process to die with your friends at your side. Last night all his long-term friends who have known him for years have spent time with him. Tears and Tears and more tears were exchanged. I was pretty shocked in the middle of the night Eddie put his arms around my neck and gave me a kiss

This made me think of the gentleman named Mountain Man that I met in the park a few weeks ago. I was about to get in my truck and leave when this man came running up to me. “Miss can I please have a pair of socks, I didn’t see you last week and mine are wore out?” he said. “Of course you can have a pair of socks and take a few extra, but it will cost you a hug.” I said. He looked at me dumbfounded as to why would I want a hug from an old man who smells like whiskey and has not had a bath in a month. He gently leaned over and gave me a hug. I introduced my self and he to me. He told me how he pans for gold and likes to spend time in the mountains, hence the name “Mountain Man.” We spent sometime talking and then there was a storm rolling in and we both needed to go. Before leaving he explained that the only shelter from the storm was a tarp he had. He would find a place to hide and roll up in his tarp to try and stay dry. Before leaving he asked for another hug, I leaned over and this man held on so tight and sunk into my arms. We held each other for the longest time. I drove away crying thinking, when was the last time this man was touched or even held by another human being. When was the last time someone truly listened to this man and when was the last time someone showed him he was loved?

After receiving the email about Eddie, the homeless man and how caring people and friends surround him, I started to think about Mountain Man. How both men homeless, yet Eddie was shown he was loved. Loved because people gave of themselves and their lives to show he was loved and worth something in this world. I think of Mountain Man and how he rolls up in his tarp all alone and hiding. When he takes his final breath will anyone be there for him? Rolled up in his tarp, will anyone even realize he has pasted? Will he have friends to be there in his final hours? When he knows that his final hours are near, will anyone be there to hold his hand and comfort him if he is scared? Who will wipe his tears and who will shed tears for a life no longer with us? Most of all, in his final hours will he ever know that he was Loved? I do love you my Mountain Man and my tears flow even now for you.