a small part of the group walking to the Bible study yesterday
The needs are so deep. The needs are so human.
They are just like us.
My heart is heavy and I want to snap my fingers and pull them out—out of their depression, pain, seemingly hopeless situation. Though it is not hopeless and they know it. The more I talk to them it is clear they know that when they are ready, support is there.
Trying to do it alone, trying to get help alone—perhaps that is the greatest need. Perhaps the greatest need I encounter is the need of a supportive person ... someone who will listen, who will connect them to those that can help for the specific issues, be it needing a new driver's license, or bus fare to get to a job interview, or new shoes so that they can walk more comfortabley the 25 minutes to their job interview.
Some of them have addictions.
Some of us do too. Even if we aren't an alcoholic or sex addict, we know what it's like to run to something to cope. We know what it's like to use the two glasses of wine or the third cookie to help numb what we feel. We are all potential addicts.
Then, imagine losing your home. Imagine sleeping on the concrete. Imagine the fog that might follow—the unassailable depression and feelings of failure. How we might beat ourselves up for all we have not done.
Do you see how this could lead to a downward spiral?
part of the Bible study group gathered 'round
We need the homeless as much as they need us. In them, I find community, I find acceptance. I, too, can come as I am. I, too, get to be loved where I am. They give me a gift because I don't have to look a certain way or say the "right" thing with them. I just get to be. And I hope they feel they get to be with me too.
Sometimes the needs feel overwhelming.
So what can I do? What can we do? Just be. Just listen. Just give a hug or hold a hand. When someone is ready, perhaps I get to drive them to the Stewpot so they can get their new ID. My friend Jesssica got to take a woman to the social security office and wait with her there this week. My friend Melissa brings pants for Allen and large-print Bibles for our Thursday morning study. My friends John and Amber send shirts and a hygiene kit for Allen.
The streets are community. Something incredible happens when we come together there. I'm not quite sure I can put words to it yet, but something is happening, and it is beautiful.
Yesterday, together my homeless friend "Jim" and I sat on the curb in the humidity and together read Romans 7 and 8 on my phone:
"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate...
For I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand...
In my inner being, I delight in the law of God, but I find another law waging war against me and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members...
Who shall deliver me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..."