Our friends without homes sometimes get a bad rap. I have heard them called some of the most horrible things and it just breaks my heart when I hear it. I wish sometimes that people would take the time to get to know my friends without homes and see them for the wonderful, kind, generous and loving people they are. On that note I would like you to meet some of my friends.
Little Dan they call him. Every week he shows up at the park and he is also one of the last to leave. I usually end up giving him a ride somewhere, but he stays until I leave. Every week he walks the perimeter of the park and without asking him to do so, he makes sure the park is spotless of all trash. He says he does it so no has any excuse to not let us serve there, he then asked if I knew why he stands behind the serving line each week and waits for everyone to go through. No, I responded and he explained that he appointed himself security and he stays there so no one will mess with anyone. He said “Your family and no one messes with family.” We have never had a problem at the park so far, but it is a good feeling to know you have someone watching your back. It is also a beautiful thing to know that he cares so much about us that he is willing to step in to protect us if something should happen. I just hope he knows how much we care and love him in return.
Last week I was at the park until about eight in the evening and on my home I stopped at the underpass. I saw one of my guys (who lives in his truck) down there and thought I would say Hi. He put the tailgate down on his truck and asked me to have a seat. A little while later three other guys showed up and sat and talked to us. I remembered I had some brownies in the truck, pulled them out and we all sat there having a good time eating and sharing what ever anyone had to drink with them. We sat and laughed, talked about old times, dreams and even cried a little with each other. We sat there until eleven that night. Then they were off to find a place to sleep for the night. As a woman was I scared of these rough tough street guys, sitting under an overpass in to the late night…..No! If anything I considered it a privilege to have been invited into their living room (the tailgate of a truck) to share food and something to drink, most of all their company. To give you a little perspective, my youngest son (he’s 25) called over ten times wanting to know where I was and if I was all right. I left my phone in my truck and when I was leaving he was calling again. I answered and explained where I was and who I was with, his only response was “Oh, that’s okay I least I know you are all right.” He even knows that being with these guys, you are treated with the up most respect and nothing will happen.
Once again today I stopped at the underpass to just say Hello again. I ended up staying seven hours down there…..yes, seven hours. When I pulled up I was greeted with hugs and hellos. One gave up his piece of cardboard so I wouldn’t have to sit on the concrete. We sat there talked, watched people go by and just had a great time. I ended up running down to the local grocery store and getting fried chicken and a few other things, set up a serving table on the back of the pickup and had us the best little picnic under the overpass. Just about everyone got their bellies full and fell asleep, but I just sat there. As I sat there I got a glimpse into their world. No one knew if I was homeless or not, except those there with me. I watched as people drove by and stared as if they never saw a homeless person, they drove by yelling nasty things out the car windows not knowing the beautiful hearts these guys have. It broke my heart to see and hear these things. Instead of yelling back, my friends had made up signs that read, we love you, your special, signs not asking for money, but signs they say to spread a little cheer (now who is being rude?). I sat there looking at my friends as they slept and thought about how much they mean to me, how they have touched my heart and how I wished people could truly see them for who they really are. Yes, they are rough and tough, but they have to be to survive. Yes, there are a few that because of the way they act give the others a bad name. We can’t judge the whole bushel, just because there are a few bruised apples in the basket. By prejudging our friends without homes, you are the ones that are missing out. Missing out on their beauty, generosity, humor, brilliance, and the love they have to share. So, the next time you see one of our friends on the streets, instead of looking away, give them a big smile, a warm hello and treat them as the beautiful person God created them to be……..you just might find a friend in one of them.
SO MEET SOME OF MY FRIENDS UNDER THE OVERPASS!!!