Day on the riverbank

“Don’t give up!” Joshua’s eyes squinted off towards the suns reflection bouncing up from the river and then turned back towards me. “A friend of mine came down here the other day.” He says to me in his smooth southern accent.”He had taken a whole bunch of pills, he is tired and he wants to die.” Joshua continued on explaining to me how easily it is to finally say that you’re tired and you want it all to end.

He has no idea that for the past 4 years I have worked with men just like him. I understand the discouragement of waking up day after day of nothingness! He also has no clue that once: years ago, I too ended up in a mental hospital because my nothingness took me to where his friend had gotten the other day.

Joshua’s slumping shoulders caused his 6’3″” frame to suddenly shrink to a meer 5’8″ as he spoke to me and turned again towards the river. I spoke a bit louder in order to pull his attention once again towards me and said “You want to give up too.” I’m not exactly sure why it happens sometimes and other times it takes awhile longer but the tears he was fighting so hard not to cry began to fall down his beautiful black skin. Josh only shook his head up and down.

I shared with him why I was on the streets bringing simple items such as socks and insect repellant. The things! are simply a knob on a spiritual door I turn in order to tell someone that what I bring is much more than “things” but it’s called “Hope!” Without a vision the Bible says a man will die. Visions parish because Hope has drained out of a human life.

He began to walk away and I stopped him by asking him if I could pray with him. He again turned towards me, bowed his head and I took a hold of his hands. While crack addicts layed out on picnic tables, 2 homeless travelers were trying to fit just one more item of value into their car that appeared unable to probably move once they put it in drive. With the sun beating down on us in 100 degree weather I closed my eyes as Missy stood next to us in agreement that our God would touch our new friends life. That hope would be restored and a peace to fill him so he would have the ability to live another day and not give up.

Readers? Hope lost leaves us nothingness. It isn’t something we find in where we live or what we own. Not even about who we know. It simply comes from a God that loves us more than any of us could ever imagine. You find that hope to want to live.

I found my buddy Homer last week. (pictured here) Sitting on a turned over ice chest I looked over to where he sat on his bed and locked into his eyes desperately digging towards his heart to remind him that I love him. Johnny sitting in this photo with Homer was the man that ran to my friend and pulled him off the edge of the bridge. Homer too is tired.

I have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of Homer’s and Joshua’s out on the streets.

“I love you Homer” I said as I got up to leave. “Don’t quit on me.” I quietly said in his ear as we hugged goodbye. He sweetly smiled back at me. I will be back checking on our guys and I want them alive! I looked over at Johnny and thanked him for being there for Homer and not giving up on each other. Paul and George stood by as Missy and I walked up the hill that led back up above the bridge and we climbed into my truck. It was one of those times we didn’t say anything as we drove away. We both know we won’t give up!


2 Responses to “Day on the riverbank”

  1. I’m so happy to hear that you got your new building! When did you find out the good news?? And Homer? Please tell him I said hello the next time you see him. He’s a good man, inside and out and I pray that you can reach him, and the others like him. Maybe having a “real church” will help them. We all know you can pray anywhere, but some people need that facility to make them feel at home. This could be the big change for the better. You all do such wonderful work-having a “home” is going to be a great place to start. Congrats and best wishes for a wonderful future, however difficult it might be.

  2. Bill and I have made it to Italy. Please tell Homer that Bill and I think of him and pray for him, and we love him.


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