Home at last, sat in my nice recliner with some Sicilian style lemonade and my laptop, I just returned from a taste of a world that will hopefully always be foreign to me.
Today I joined some friends from my men’s group to help out at Solomon’s Porch, a homeless outreach operated by The Lord’s Hands & Hearts Ministries. The folks that run it have incredible hearts, their dedication to help the homeless is truly admirable. This is the 2nd time I’ve gone there to help out, the 1st time was a significant perspective fixer for me & looking back was probably the beginning of this awakening that I am experiencing.
For me the day started out with a test. Last night I recall thinking to myself in my tiredness that it would be kind of nice if nobody showed up at church to car pool, that way I could just go back home & have a lazy day. Well sure enough, I’m sat in our church parking lot at 7:30 this morning & nobody shows up. Leaving me with a decision to make, at the time I didn’t recall my thoughts from the night before, I made the right call & decided to head on down to south Dallas alone. Fortunately for me there were several guys who went directly to the place so I at least knew some people, I’m sure I would have been fine alone too.
I think I passed the test, I got to prove that what I say I believe is actually important to me. There is a line in Batman that comes to mind for me frequently at the moment. “It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you”. Today I did a good thing & that pleases me.
Why did I do a good thing though? It’s about getting outside of my comfort zone & seeing what God will do with that. I don’t like going to rough neighborhoods, I don’t like being near people that frankly stink, many are strung out on drugs & some are just flat out scary. Truth be told I don’t want to go & help out at a homeless place, I don’t want to, however He wants me to & so I went.
This should be where I tell a tale about what significant & meaningful things I did while I was there. That’s not the way it works though, at least not for me, not at this stage. I served coffee while breakfast was going on & then I served tea at lunch. I held brief conversations with a few of the homeless people, you can add them to the list of folks I have a hard time holding a conversation with, along with kids & old people. I don’t know why that is, maybe it’s just that I’m concerned about coming across as insensitive, I mean what do you talk to a homeless person about?
Maybe that is my place though, quietly helping out, not everyone can be a preacher a worship leader or a healer or something that in my earthly mind comes across as more significant. Maybe my job will only ever be to hold one corner of the stretcher, get it to the roof, make a hole & help get people to Jesus. Just to help, just to be a spoke in the wheel. If that’s my place, that’s ok, it may seem insignificant on the surface, but in the grand scheme of things it is highly significant, if you don’t have enough spokes the wheel doesn’t work.
It breaks my heart to see folks like I saw today. For many of these people, this is their life, they will probably never live in a house again, probably never work. Yet in all their pain & suffering, you still get to see moments of happiness, a warm cup of coffee means a lot more to someone who slept under a bridge than it does to me. Although they expect the place to be there every week to meet some of their needs, you can still sense the genuine appreciation for what is done there.
One fun thing of note. One of my friends who was there today is a successful businessman, now if I have a hard time holding a conversation, this guy is the polar opposite, I’m not sure he has ever met a stranger. So I sat with him for a while & just listened to him talking to this guy, a guy who should not be on the street, a guy who one way or another is going to get his life back together (you can just tell). It was a cool conversation to watch, even better knowing that if this homeless guy calls him this coming week like my friend asked him to, there is a good chance he’ll have a job & a fresh start soon.
The 1st time we both went to Solomon’s Porch he wound up hiring 2 guys, you’re not supposed to give your phone number out but he doesn’t care. It’s great to see someone in a position to really help actually reach out & help. His hope is that he helps a few of the people that are easiest to help & they in turn will help some of the people in greater need of help, people who need to see someone make a go of it so that they can trust the help. It’s tough for a lot of people on the streets to trust a complete stranger like that. Just ask the guy who was telling me that all white people are the devils because they put the heroin on the streets. I’m pretty sure he knew I am white, I got his point too, but I really wasn’t sure how to respond.
All in all, I did a good thing today, for no reason other than to do a good thing. I don’t think that working with the homeless is necessarily a great passion for me per say, but I will go back and do it again because it is a good thing to do & I like that.
Spare a thought & a prayer for those who were not able to drive home after lunch. Who are not sat in their recliner but walking around looking for a dry place to sleep tonight, it’s not a good thing they get to do, it is an unimaginable existence, an existence that if you really think about it makes complaining on the trivial things in life a lot more difficult. If I helped to make it even slightly better for a few of them, albeit briefly, then today was a day well lived.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’