Want to live!

I have said many times, the job that God has asked me to do comes at a great price.

Many don’t understand…often I don’t understand.

I don’t understand why I and a few others have been chosen if you will to look at day after day, week after week, month after long month and year after year lives that are so lost.

Yes, we have heard a thousand times from many well-meaning people “Homeless people choose to be homeless. They could get jobs, they don’t have to drink.” And I do suppose to some extent there is some validity to those types of statements however words aren’t cleaning up city streets.

Great organizations are in place yet there is a loop in the system that allows those that we work with to slip through, which takes me back to the beginning of todays chapter of my life. I just don’t understand: often, why me? Why us? Why WVM?

Yesterday Missy and I sat at a stop light and walking up to the corner was our friend Homer. We hadn’t seen him in about 3 weeks so I rolled down the window and we talked. The light changed and I yelled back at him as we drove away that I would be back later and find him at his tent.

He acknowledged what I said with a smile and a wave of his hand…

We (Missy and I) started talking about how we hadn’t seen him in that 3 week period and knew we had to get back to him as soon as we were finished with our errands.

Homer was a little more worn than usual. He has been on the streets now for a few years. He had a very prosperous radiator business that simply went bottom up because of his alcoholism.

The streets are never kind to anyone and Homer has done rather well for his age but yesterday things just didn’t feel right as we talked. He appeared tired.

We knew that he had been staying at another camp for a few weeks and was drinking really heavy. Because of my own schedule I wasn’t really able to go ck on him.

I pulled up an old upside down cooler and sat on it at the entrance to his tent. I watched the trail of ants move along the edge of the opening and wondered how many found their way into the open pack of crackers I saw laying sideways inside.

My eyes watched my own legs off and on for mosquitos that can find me 17 miles away while the whole time breezes sent whiffs of air from his tent in my direction making me want to walk away… knowing I had to block out the smell. My friend needed me.

He had been in the emergency room he told us. Wasn’t sure how long, how he got there or who called for his help. Statements like these are not at all uncommon. We hear them all the time. But because this is Homer, a man I not only love but fell in love with a few years ago I was much more concerned. I don’t want him to be the next in line to die.

I saw a bloody shirt on top of his tent and said “Get in the car we’re going to Missy’s so you can get a shower.” He was on his feet in seconds flat.

After his shower Missy made him a cup of coffee and he sat on the steps of her home and enjoyed the quiet. No tents, no trash, nobody hustling money. There was nobody passed out, beat up, or starting an argument. No cops to tell him to move on.

I watched him from behind the curtain and wondered why he didn’t want to sit inside. We both knew the why without saying a word…I close doors, Homer stands on the outside no longer desiring to be in.

Well readers, that is why I am here. To help lives change the desire. Desire to sit on furniture and use a toilet. To place trash in a can and not on the grass. To want to live and not die.

Warm weather in the south means the street people will fill the streets. Men and woman are everywhere.

Oh I do understand you can drive down the street and not see a single homeless person. I can drive down the same street and find 10. I can also point out where they’re living or in my world I know where they are dieing.

It is what I am called to do. I don’t fight that fact any longer…I have been sober now about 26 years. I have lost so much. I understand totally what the inside of a mental hospital looks like and not as a visitor. Yet I have gained so much more than I lost.

Being an alcoholic isn’t a profession I wish on anyone yet I know that if “I” can make it back than with the help of God my friends can too.

Homer is only one. There are many many others out there tonight. Pray for my friends. Pray that for maybe just tonight they dream about living again.


3 Responses to “Want to live!”

  1. I thank God everyday that I am able to work along side Sister Jaye with the homeless. When we first started this work Jaye used to tell me that you have to look at these people as though they are dying. I hated it when she said that, I didn’t want to see any dying. But over the years I have come to understand that she was right. It is like waking up everyday and going to work in a Hospice. Every face you see and every conversation that you have is a brutal reminder of the reality that this person is dying. And it is our job to bring as much hope and comfort, through the love of Jesus Christ, as we can before they die, all the while hoping beyond hope that they find remission, the turn around that we are so desperately praying for and looking for every day in each face. It is hard sometimes not to feel helpless as we watch so many of the ones we have fallen in love with die, but then I remind my self that if they die with Jesus in their heart then, though we will miss them terribly, we will rejoice knowing that they have finally found their point of remission, and freedom from the horrible bondage that held them prisoner here. So please don’t go through another day without praying for these and others that are so desperate for the life changing truth of God’s Word…………Someone’s life may just depend on it!!

  2. Homer is a nice man. My time around him was very short but in those few days I saw a kind man whose life took a bad turn somewhere in his past. Without people like Jaye and Missy to be there for them, they would have nothing but the others like them to share their lives. With Jaye and Missy they have “normal” friends-friends who can offer them a shower and coffee. They get a glimpse into the lives they might have one day. Some are “saved” and others are not. Some get sober, find jobs and productive lives; many others don’t. But by working with one person at a time, one day at a time, these people know and understand the love that others give them. Keep up the good work. What you do is SO valuable!!

  3. Jay I admire you for the work you do. I know first hand what alcohol can do it destoryed my mothers life and a chuld I dudnt understand. I have just forgiving in the past few years.

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