Saturday night was so cold.
Had my money held out, I could have stayed another night at the Army shelter, but I didn't have the $7.00 I needed to get in.
Maybe the worst of the cold is over now.
But, who knows.
The pavement in the alley back of the abandoned office building was about as hard as usual, but I managed to avoid the cold wind most of the night. Funny though, how the wind finds ways around the corners of buildings, even close to the ground.
Spent the night alone, last night. Don't know what happened to Bobby. He and I try to stick close. There's safety in togetherness. But, made it through to sunrise. Seems coldest right before dawn breaks.
Another day I wasn't promised. Thank you, Lord.
Sunday morning and I was flat broke.
Decided to go down to the church. Standing in the parking lot as folks go in and come out about an hour later sometimes works out okay for me.
My clothes were dirty, my hair pretty much a mess. All my stuff packed away in the old backpack someone gave me awhile back. I carry all that I own.
I've learned the best thing to do is just stand out in clear view of everyone and beg for help without shame or pride.
"Sir, could you help me out today?" is about as good as I can do. That was my speech this Sunday morning.
Church was out about 20 minutes and I see this fellow and his wife walking across the parking lot. I call out to him, but he keeps walking toward his car. He's not going to let me think that he saw me, but I know he did.
I turn and begin to call out to others, and I'm surprised when the fellow I thought would ignore me calls back to me as he walks up. He kinda scared me. I'm not used to his style.
He asks me what I'm doing, where I stay. He asks about The Bridge. He asks what I want, what I plan to do, how much I need.
I tell him that I don't make demands, I just ask people to give me what they think best. After all, I'm responsible for myself and I got myself out here. I take what I'm given and live thankful.
He asks about me, seems to care.
So, before I know it, I'm telling him about my wrong turns, my problems with drugs, my time in prison and my last two years, clean and sober. I tell him I know that I have no one to blame for my current situation, but my own stupid mistakes that go way back to my family and my failure at school.
I hear myself admit to him, "You know, I didn't do what my momma told me to do."
This guy listens like I matter. He seems to understand.
I'm encouraged no matter what he gives me.
At the end of the conversation, he drops $20 on the plate of cake I'm holding, the gift of a lady who brought it out of the church earlier. Don't usually get cake or a twenty! But, I'm so grateful.
This fellow left me information about how to contact him. I tell him, "I'll remind you that I'm Ray from the church parking lot."
I really need to call that guy.
Life can be better than it is for me right now, I know that for sure. I've just got to find my way back.