Thursday, December 20, 2018

Merry Christmas from my hometown!

Love this photo of Downtown Dallas, published in the latest issue of American Infrastructure Magazine, largely due to the fact that CitySquare's building at 511 N. Akard Street can be seen nestled in the middle of the scene just to the left of the Bank of America tower (orangeish/pinkish building!)

 Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Gift

Yesterday, some Good Samaritan placed a $100 bill under my windshield wiper blade. The donor had packaged the treasure in a cellophane wrapper with a note about the gift of the Christ child.  Clearly, I had been blessed for  no good reason.  The implication seemed clear to me:  someone else needed to receive a similar blessing just because.  

As I thought about giving the gift away, or passing it along, my mind raced and I found the anticipation of giving the little treasure to someone who really needed it extremely satisfying. 

Arriving at CitySquare's Opportunity Center this morning, I observed a long line in queue to shop in our grocery store.  Our customers waited patiently to get in the building and out of the cold. 

Possibly my gift should go to one of these lovely persons. 

How would I decide?  There were so many people in need.  Who could know the correct choice?  As I stood almost paralyzed in my confused, elusive discernment, emotions flooded my heart.  Tears filled my eyes. 

Who could choose?

Everyone needed my gift.  The scale of the need just in our center outstripped the capacity of not only my meager offering, but our entire "blessing ecosystem." 

This many precious people, reduced to depending on charity to exist, infuriates me. 

It is so wrong. 

We can do so much better. . .if we decide we want to do better.  

And, oh yes, the $100 bill found its way into the grateful hands of a grandmother who came to "shop" for Christmas dinner. 

Thanks to the special angel who left the gift on my windshield.  It proved to be an eye-opening gift. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Gift from a Friend

Terry's my friend. 

For several years Terry "lived" in the Deep Ellum/Fair Park area. 

Homelessness forced him to the streets. 

Everyone knew him because of his deftness at card tricks and stand-up comedy routines--Terry can tell a mean joke! 

After a long haul, Terry landed an apartment in CitySquare's housing program. He's successfully maintained his housing for several months. 

Thanks to a special  program offered by AARP, Terry is set to join our team as an employee in the Food Pantry. 

As is typical with Terry, he dropped by on Monday to visit.  I was swamped, but finally we got to sit and talk. 

He presented me with a Christmas gift:  the Snoopy socks pictured here.  I wore them proudly today! 

Terry is my friend. 

I am fortunate to know him. 

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Lines, Hated Lines

Long lines infuriate me.  Especially when formed by men and women who've spent the night in "the rough" under a freeway bridge or behind some business. 

The fact that fellow human beings live without a home in one of the richest places on earth not only makes me angry, it embarrasses me.

Then, when I walk up on such a line at my place of business, you can add paralysis to my anger and embarrassment. 

Really, what am I to do? 

No way to walk past a line of human misery like this without a word. 

But what word? 

This morning I chose apology mixed with challenge as I shook hands with the two dozen very cold people who stood in line awaiting the opening of our housing center.

I touched each person in some way or another--physically. 

But that could not be the end of it.  I found myself urging them to "stay in CitySquare's  face," "get up in our grill" and demand housing placement. 

Self-incrimination seemed what the doctor ordered in view of this prevailing equation:  X minus 2X equals -X when X is housing units available and 2X  is people needing housing units. 

We brought in hot coffee service this morning. 

Charity gets us nowhere.  But it did cut against the cold this morning. 

And, being charitable of spirit may get us riled up enough to fight the injustice of that damned line in our space.