They were just a few moments, just a few words, just a few things. Words of greeting. Words of encouragement. Food for the belly. A scratch on a dogs head.
We were just beginning to know his story. He had learned to trust us enough to ask for help when he felt afraid and wanted a ride to another location.
Caring and loving of his only companion, his pal, his dog.
We had been wondering how he had been doing on the streets, because with his dog, he didn’t make use of the shelters, and we had been having some particularly cold weather. He had talked about going back to New Mexico.
Now, he has been found, having died from a stroke, his faithful companion beside him.
I didn’t really know what exactly I would think, or who I would be talking to when we started going downtown and feeding the homeless at the park…it is sort of something you just start doing.
I do know that a strong impression I get is they really want you to recognize them. They like if you remember them. I mean, don’t we all like to be remembered? Imagine, (well, I remember when) if you are feeling down on yourself, and people don’t even look at you, or acknowledge you, it’s like ‘remember me?’ So, I have been really trying to remember their names, and the pieces of their stories they tell us. Isn’t that how people know they are important to us, when we remember stuff about them? We may not always get everything right, but when we put forth the effort, it means something, you know?
I’ve been learning a lot of things from my new friends. (I’ll try to blog about that some more.) I’ve just been thinking some though about Bryan’s last words to us.
He had asked for a ride to the interstate because he thought he wanted to get back to New Mexico. He talked about how pretty it was. He talked about some other things, but when we all shook hands, his last words were to us “God bless you”.
You know, sometimes you think you are helping people in some small ways, and they turn out they are blessing you. You think you are being God’s hand’s and feet and maybe it’s the other way around sometimes.
Too often the assumption is made that the homeless aren’t “spiritual” or “Christian”. Well, I’ve had some pretty “spiritual” and insightful conversations with a few individuals. Oh, they don’t fit that pretty little box that society has for them, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be “Jesus with skin on” too. Maybe, just maybe their ministry is walking around in that pit of despair helping those who need it. Don’t tell them to get out of the pit, or tell them how wrong they are, maybe they are supposed to be there helping the others. Maybe, that’s their purpose.
I am sure there is much more for me to learn from our new friends. Right now I’m just going to remember the last moments with Bryan. Remembering him talking with us. Remembering his eyes. Remembering him talking and petting his dog. Remembering his blessing.