Pages

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tyler Thankful

Homelessness by matkaminski: http://matkaminski.deviantart.com/
  He sat crumpled up against the wall of Walmart, with the cardboard sign propped up against his legs.  Head down, he didn't look up at the shoppers who passed by him, most only glancing at him (like myself) out of the edges of their eyes.  A dog lay curled up near him and his hand stroked its head.   

  Daniel and I hurried by, but just inside the entrance, my husband stopped me.  He pulled out his wallet and looked through the cash we had wistfully, finally pulling out a few dollar bills. 

  "Do you mind if I go give this to that guy?" he asked.

   I nodded, adding, "And you can take a few moments to talk to him too, if you want.  Me and the kids will hang out and wait for you."

  Daniel does this every once in a while.  He never gives without trying to start a conversation with the person he is giving to.  To introduce himself and hear the other's story.  He hasn't yet run in to someone who is unwilling to talk.  Most of the folks he has chatted with seem to crave, for just a moment, the chance to converse like a normal human being with someone else who will look them square in the face and ask...and listen. 

"Most of those people want that life.  They don't have to be there--they've chosen it.  If they really wanted to, they could find real work."

  I know, I've heard the arguments.  Even recently.  But after the events that have transpired in my own life, I don't believe them any more.  Sometimes, even with a heart full of faith and an incredibly loving God at the helm, life can be tough.  Just ask King David.  And sometimes, getting a job isn't all that easy. 

  Does it make me doubt God's love?  Well, when I'm in the middle of a really crappy day, maybe it does.  (I've said before, "I'm not perfect."  Heh.  Here's more proof.) 

  The truth is (and this is what I go back to, after all those niggling doubts) that God is loving.  But here's the clencher:  His ways are not our ways.  So when things go vastly different than I wish them to, it doesn't mean He's withholding something.  It means He is actually giving me something I didn't expect (haha, or want?).  Like...maybe a fresh perspective. 

Let me finish my story.

Homeless by Cursed-Beauty47:  http://www.deviantart.com/art/Homeless-56285819
  Turns out, this young homeless guy is named Tyler.  Growing up, his parents were never that much in the picture, and even as a youngster, it was his older siblings who raised him.  Apparently, that wasn't a healthy home life (big surprise).  His older siblings were abusive so when he turned fifteen, he left.  He's nineteen, now and he only keeps in touch with his younger brother.  Where does he stay?  He doesn't have a place to stay anymore because his camp (wherever and whatever that was) just got "cleaned up" by the cops the other night.  But don't worry, he told Daniel.  Things are looking up for him.  He's got a dog, now:  A homeless stray, much like himself.  He calls the dog, "Benji".  It took him awhile to teach Benji to trust him.  But now, it's Tyler and Benji, and things are looking up.  Was it cold last night?  Yeah, it was pretty cold.  But things are going to get better.  Don't worry. 

  What the heck was I doing suggesting Walmart to Daniel that morning?  I never go to that Walmart.  It's one of the dirtier ones, in a not so great area of town.  I don't even think the prices compare to where I usually go, and prices matter these days because we are in challenging circumstances ourselves.  I have been frustrated in my prayer life, griping to God about why He has us staying on the good graces of family for so long.  It's a humbling and uncomfortable place to be for an extended time period.  I have been desperately trying to find His answers to me, somewhere.  So, this morning, God gave me an incredible gift:  the chance to go to Walmart and meet Tyler. 

  An opportunity to realize anew how rich and how blessed I am.  Right now.  In discomfort and humility, I am blessed.  The cops haven't "cleared out my camp".  I get to take a shower each morning.  I have food to eat.  It's cold at night, but I'm warm.  Wow.  I've been given so much.  And I'm not to worry, either.  Because things are going to get better. 

  Thank you, Tyler.  We'll keep praying for you, Daniel and I.  We're so glad we got to meet you and Benji, and we really thank you for giving so much to us this morning from your own meager store.  We really appreciate it.  Thanks. 
 

4 comments:

  1. Dear Christina,
    I so enjoy your blog and most of all your beautiful heart of love for our Lord Jesus, and yes, for others. I have been following your story since the day you befriended me, on Facebook, so I could find your Mom; my Aunt Bettie.
    This story is repeated day in and day out as I go to work in Eugene, Oregon. I pray for the homeless man limping down the street in the early morning; hurting because he can't keep his feet dry. He may have sold his one pair of good socks for cigarettes or something else to comfort him; or he may have had them stolen along with his other belongings. I pray also for the man walking barefoot, wrapped in a sleeping bag, out of his mind from what exactly? God knows and loves him too.
    Everyday I too thank God; as I shower in warm water, have food to eat from a real table and turn the heater up just a little more to get warm. I thank Him for the job He chose for me; working in a shelter for homeless families and single folks who have been beaten down by life and by those who should have been keeping them safe.
    I am humbled every day by the homeless ones I see on the street during my commute; and the thousand I do not see (men, women and children). I am, like you, humbled by the Tyler and Benji's we meet when we take time to stop and talk with them, listen to their story and share whatever we have .
    When Randy and I drove to Redding, we wanted to bless a man standing outside a Taco Bell with a meal. By the time we got things done at the register, one of the workers had set him down at a table and he finished his meal as we went to sit down. We purchased gift cards and found him as we pulled out toward the road. As I handed him the card I asked if he knew Jesus. His face lit up with a huge smile and he told us just how his Lord has blessed him in his homelessness. He has met many Christians who loved on him with a meal, warm clothing and conversation. Yes, he knows Jesus. Jesus walks everywhere with him. I smile as I think of how we wanted to bless him and ended up being blessed by him.
    Thank you for sharing your journey. We are praying for you, Daniel, Caedyn, Mystery and the new little one to come. If you ever get to Springfield, Oregon and need a place to stay please let us know. Ours is small, but we would love to have you.
    With love, Your cousin and siblings in Christ ~ Pam and Randy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam and Randy, thank you both so much for taking the time to read and reply. That's amazing, Pam--I didn't know that you work in a shelter. You know a lot better than I about what these dear folks endure. Thank you for your prayers. Daniel and I really appreciate them. And thanks so much for your offer. If we ever get up to Springfield, we will be sure to drop by. :) Much love, Christina

      Delete
  2. Mathew, your artwork speaks for itself. I love how in the drawing above, the guy's eyes can just be seen glaring out under his hoody. I think it is a look I have seen before, and I think I understand it. I think, especially in the young homeless (and there are many of those) it is a rebellion against the judgment that comes so often. Thank you for creating such a beautiful piece and for allowing me to showcase it here.

    ReplyDelete