Monday, August 9, 2010

Out from Under the Overpass

"The exclusion of the weak and insignificant, the seemingly useless people from everyday Christian life in community may actually mean the exclusion of Christ; for in the poor sister or brother, Christ is knocking at the door." Dietrich Bonhoffer, Life Together

After we had given the men their lunches and their needs bags on Sunday, we had a lot of sack lunches left. So after leaving the overpass JM (the leader of the ministry) drove us around the streets looking for other folks who looked in need of a meal. A couple of the fellas from the street had hopped in the back of the truck for a lift. We stopped by a brick warehouse that appeared to be abandoned. There was a large cardboard box laid out on a porch. An older man was there sleeping. I was told, “that’s his place”…. Meaning that’s his home. JM knew him, and said that he could talk your ear off. I wondered if that was a God given talent… (If you are an introvert like me you see that as a gift) or did he spend so much time alone that when he found someone to talk to he just couldn’t shut up.

After leaving there we went by a gas station where a couple was standing. JM knew them too. He said they were bad news. They refused our meals and we left quickly. They were most likely up to no good and perhaps smoking some crack. I don’t know and I don’t want to know but they made me nervous. JM told us a little more about them in the car. They definitely live a shady lifestyle and I never want to come across either one of them alone.

From then on I kept glancing to the back of the truck to see how our friends reacted to people we saw. If they smiled and waved I felt better. Finally, we stopped by Lynn Park. We gave a guy a meal and as soon as we did we had about 50 people rush the truck. PW, one of our friends in the back of the truck said, “This is trouble.” We gave all the food we had away and there were still 20 or 30 people who didn’t get a lunch. We gave them bottled waters. Many of the folks at the park were not happy with us for running out of food. They scowled and turned their backs on us. J a new fella who had come to the overpass for the first time that Sunday was in the back with PW. He gave his sack lunch away to one of the men at the park. That was such a generous thing to do, but the recipient didn’t even thank him. Stopping by the park was a very eye-opening experience for me. In a weird way the Overpass in its own way was a comfort zone for me. I know the rules there. I know the people there. And although I have a healthy respect for what it is I’m doing there and my surroundings, there is a sort of comfort in it. But seeing another side of homelessness was shocking and even more heartbreaking. I wonder if there is hope for some of the people I saw there. How trapped are they by that lifestyle? It is a sort of community. Do they want that lifestyle? It’s very dark there, I almost never want to go to that park again. In the past, for various reasons I’ve gone through that park several times. I will never go there again without being more aware of my surroundings, without knowing that the girls on the corner, they aren’t just hanging out. It’s a very scary, heartbreaking world. I’m sad for them. I dont know what to do but pray for them.

1 comment:

  1. Ashes said...
    I have often wondered about this, ever since you first told me about your endeavors. I've always been frightened....worried....fretful....and yet you've always been so "everything is fine" that I let it go. I'm glad to see that you guys were able to give food to other hands that needed it, but saddened that you felt afraid. Also relieved, because it is a dangerous, heartbreaking world. Just remember, you go out to heal, and be safe.

    I love you.

    Prayer is powerful, keep praying. Keep telling us about what needs to be prayed.


    August 15, 2010 2:59 PM