Tuesday AM I was scheduled to have a breakfast mtg at Lots of Lox off 152nd Street with one of my multisite media directors... only I forgot to confirm, so I was the only one to show up. Oh well.
I was midway through reading my blogs via iPhone 3G at the restaurant... when an old friend walked through the door. He and I go way back. We've eaten together, prayed together, laughed together, cussed together... well, he did the cussing. Oh, yeah, and he's homeless.
I met him about four years ago when he was sleeping outside the front door of The Living Word. I bought him lunch. Between food, McDonalds gift certificates, bus fares and Bibles, I've invested a lot into this guy.
It was funny. He walks into the restaurant and walks straight up to my table, recognizing me immediately. The waitress starts to ask him to leave, at the same instant I kick the chair out from under the table, greeting him with a smile, "Hey man. Sit down. I've missed you." In shock, she changes her sentence in midstream asking if everything is okay, and would I like some more coffee? I replied that I would love another cup, and whatever he wanted. He didn't even ask for a menu, rattling off 4 eggs runny, large orange juice, bacon, sausage, white bread, water, and I'm sure other items I can't remember. Total for him came just short of $20. That's a lot of breakfast.
People in the restaurant stared. This businessman at the next table couldn't take his eyes off us. Mind you, I'm dressed business casual. He, well, was wearing a dirty pair of shorts and a hospital gown. Yeah, no shirt and half a hospital gown. He still had heart monitors attached to his chest (he said he walked out of Jackson South late last night and slept in the alley next to the restaurant.) He wouldn't go into detail on the hospital stuff. That concerns me.
When I usually meet him, he's optimistic. He may be homeless, but he's got a job coming up... he's got an opening at the HAC Homeless center... he's saving up money to go home to Mississippi... he's got an opening at a job skills center... That's one of the reasons I like to help him. He's always trying to get out. Today he was different. I know it's weird, but it was the first time I've seen him depressed.
We talked about plans, hopes, helps, anything. He was physically and emotionally beat up. He had no plan, there was no hope, and he wasn't really looking for help. The sun had beaten him down again, someone had stolen what little possessions he had, and he can't find a job. We talked of God. I do believe that he is a Christian, but years of losing to the world has left him jaded, soured.
After breakfast I reflected on my life, and thanked God for the continued grace He has shown on me. Then I prayed for my Homeless Guy.