We already raised the funds for Bobby's keyboard — and so many more people wanted to give. You all are the best! We've ordered the keyboard, and we hope it will arrive before Christmas. We'll keep you updated!
Written by Rachel Nash
One week after Thanksgiving, we had a potluck dinner at Bobby's new apartment. Bobby is a friend who used to live on the streets and about 6 months ago got placed in an apartment in Oak Cliff. It was my first time to visit Bobby since he has been there, and for that matter, it was my first time visiting a homeless friend who was no longer homeless! Needless to say, I had NO idea what to expect.
We pulled up to some very nice apartments and found Bobby's number. As we walked in, we were greeted with shoeless Bobby. (He only has 2 toes left, so we had never seen him without his shoes on!)
His spotless home was indicative of his excitement in hosting this dinner. It was nice, clean, and furnished. (Our friends at BedStart helped to furnish Bobby's apartment a few months ago.) We walked in and everyone brought their dishes inside. We had ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, salad, and of course brownies. Bobby supplied the ice cream because he had BlueBell and Elisabeth had brought some other unmentionable brand.
We lit a candle, set the table, Bobby said a prayer, and we shared a meal together. We shared stories from the past and present and we all learned more about each other than we knew before the meal started. Bobby told us his life story, about his marriage, his children, how he ended up on the streets and how he got to a place where he was ready to stop being homeless.
The part of the story that stuck out the most to me was his time in the band in high school. Bobby said he could play just about any instrument and especially loved the keyboard. He gave up playing music because his girlfriend was pregnant with his oldest child and he needed to get a job and be responsible. But his love for music never faded.
The art therapist in me lit up. A hobby! Something he loves and was at one time passionate about! Bobby came to make art with us on the streets, but he always made it clear that he was there for the conversation and not for the art. To find out an artistic outlet that Bobby was excited about was also exciting and encouraging to me.
Before we left, I looked at Bobby, gave him a hug, and said, I'm glad you're doing well. He looked right back at me, and said, "Well, I wouldn't say I'm doing well, but I'm surviving." In my naiveté, I assumed that because he was in an apartment and off of the streets, it automatically meant that Bobby was doing well. But it doesn't. It doesn't take away our need to help him, love him, and reach out to him — and others — once they get housing. Housing isn't the cure. It helps, but it's not everything. Bobby is lonely. He doesn't have any money because he spends almost all of it on rent, so he can't go anywhere, see anyone, and is confined to his house.
He is grateful to have a house, but it didn't heal him. He still has needs. He needs community.
Which brings me to this ask. As I laid in bed that night, thinking about our dinner and how it was a beautiful picture of what we are called to do in this life — break bread with people — I was drawn back to hearing Bobby say that he wasn't doing well. What could help Bobby? I wondered. And immediately, a vision of a keyboard came to mind. Something to keep him busy, stimulate his mind, and bring joy into his new home.
We at The Human Impact believe that music and the arts create space for healing. Can we bless Bobby this Christmas with the gift of creativity? Let's give Bobby a gift he never expected this Christmas: a keyboard. You could even come see his new apartment; he is a wonderful host. Who knows, maybe one day he will play us a concert? To give to this special Christmas Meet the Need, click here. We need to raise $268.87 to get him this keyboard, bench, and stand, and we will update this post when we reach our goal!
Christmas Blessings to all,