"I want my life back," Roy shared on a drive back from visiting his ex-wife.
Not much else was said on that drive, just a quiet reflection of the day. Home-cooked enchiladas, a warm hug from his daughter, smiles from his ex-wife, a photo together, and a bag full of tamales and an internal determination to change things for the drive home.
“I’m hoping to get my life back through this," he said, referring to the rehab he was about to do at Salvation Army. "My family, work, rhythm, I want to get it back.”
He had a family, his own landscaping business, and holidays dressed up as Santa Claus to make them laugh. But he struggled, just like every one of us. For him, it was his own internal war that led him to his addiction to drugs, and ultimately his divorce.
His family, his business, and holidays spent with them were gone. He was left alone in his addiction and in all the shame he carried because of it, and he ended up homeless.
He’s not alone. Those feelings of shame because of our past or of not knowing how to get things right in the present are something all of us can resonate with. What might be different for some of us reading this, though, is that we have family or friends who choose to walk in that mess and shame with us. And it can be sobering to think about where we’d be without that relational support. Chances are, some of us, too, would be homeless.
You see, what we've found during our time on the streets talking with people experiencing longterm homelessness is this: trauma and catastrophic loss of family or support are a part of people’s stories. These two pieces, trauma and loss, are also a part of Roy's story.
We can’t take away the trauma and loss that happened to Roy, but we sure as hell can be his friend and connect him to others who can be his friend and support too. Why? Because Roy is a child of God who is loved no matter what he does or doesn’t do. And his story is not over!
He started his 6-month long rehab on May28th. It might be a hard, long road ahead, but our friend Roy’s about to get his life back.