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Pictures on Walls

Physical pictures are rare. Initially, it was because there were not many opportunities to take a picture. Growing up in the 80s, I had 24 precious attempts to take photos of my week-long vacation and hoped a finger wasn’t covering the lens. In this digital age, pictures are taken all the time but still rarely printed. So when I am visiting someone’s home and see pictures on their walls, it shows intentionality and communicates which moments and people hold importance in their life.

A couple months ago, The Human Impact celebrated their 10th birthday. There were two photo booths. One photo booth sent the photos digitally to emails or phone numbers. The other photo booth printed off the photos. I still haven’t gotten around to printing off the ones sent to my phone but the printed off ones are easily within reach. I was looking at them this morning, feeling grateful for the faces looking back.

One of the photos on my wall is with my friend Christopher. We met last year on a Tuesday during a Meet & Greet at THI’s office. It’s a time with hot coffee and warm conversations. At THI’s birthday party, he asked if I would take a picture with him. Something, he pointed out, that was a rare request. I said yes. He and I don’t get to see each other often, but each time we do, it’s special as we’ve been able to connect over the demands of our emergency response backgrounds. David, a THI Friendship Advocate, recently texted me with a picture saying “You’re on Christopher’s wall at his house!” with a photo attached: There we were, on his wall next to a small table with flowers on it.

I’m approaching six years of going out to the streets with THI. When I express my gratitude to God for all the goodness in my life, many of these relationships are on that list. There is a corner of photos in my home as evidence.

A frequent question by people we meet for the first time on the streets is “What do you do?” Dana, a Bridging Advocate at THI, often answers that "We simply want to be your friends if you want to be ours." I love that answer. We are trying to be friends. A one-sided friendship is not friendship—real friendship is reciprocated with trust as its foundation.

When David sent me this picture of that photo hanging on Christopher’s wall, I knew my friendship with Christopher was reciprocated. We trust each other and look forward to when we see each other again. What a gift of friendship that is. What an honor to be on his wall.

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