I can't tell why it happens to me so often. It has become a joke in my family.
It happened to me just now.
My car was loaded down with recycle paper and clothing donations, so I decided to run up to our building on Haskell Avenue and clean out my vehicle before another week gets underway.
As I am unloading, "Bobby" walks up. Homeless, disabled, desperate--Bobby tries to communicate through his very challenging speech impediment.
I've talked to him several times before this evening. I know his story most likely as well as anyone in Dallas. Take it from me, that fact alone is enough to make me cry because I barely know Bobby.
Bobby has been on the street for many years. He has been beaten up, robbed, cast aside, chased away from just about everywhere and basically "flushed" by the larger community.
Bobby has a hard time just walking. He has a pin in one leg, the result of a severe beating by a group of young thugs.
I suspect Bobby has a substance abuse problem or has had one at some point in the past. I've never talked to him when he was drunk or "high."
I do know that Bobby has not received what he needs.
So, tonight Bobby hobbles up as I am unloading my car. I notice he is carrying everything he owns in a giant, unorganized wad.
"Hey, man," he half yells my way as he approaches. "Remember me?"
"Sure. I remember you, Bobby," I reply. "How are things with you?"
"I'm making it, man, with God's help," he answered. "But, I'm needing some change to get something to eat. I'm hungry, man."
Taking care of that request is easy. Thinking about what to do is the tough part.
I invited him to sleep behind our building under the protected parking cover. Why don't I have a better to offer him? Why don't I just take him home with me? Why don't I just "camp" here with him?
I have this feeling Jesus would have. Jesus lived a lot more like Bobby than like I live.
Of course, I've got all the right and respectable answers lined up on those questions. Only problem is, these are the questions that keep coming up for me.
It is true, we are working on this issue. Dallas needs to provide a livable space for Bobby and others like him. I am learning that as far as I am concerned, "Dallas" means me and my friends at Central Dallas Ministries. That is how we have to look at the matter.
I just hope we get it done in time. Bobby will die out on the streets of my hometown if we delay much longer. I know that for a fact.
I gave Bobby ten bucks for a meal knowing that he needed so much more. I think I know that Jesus would agree and he would look to me and many others like me who claim to be following him for some action and answers.
Bishops, District Superintendents and Change
2 weeks ago