Friday, November 30, 2012

Confessions/ letter to the homeless man

I wasn't kidding when I said I was a once a week blogger, eh?

But really.  It's a good thing.  You do not need that much of me, and well.. I do need you, but I don't need to be needed by you as much as I think I need you.

At least I think so.

Anyway, it's time for a confession.

No. I didn't cause the toxic train wreck in New Jersey.

No. I haven't been sneaking around raising chickens without my mother's permission.

( I might miss my yearly payment, which incidentally occurs on or near my birthday)

No.  My confession is something like this:

 I gave cold, hard cash to a pan-handler.

There. Did it.

I was in my right mind and all.  (Well, as much as I ever am)  I was walking out of Sam's club when I was approached by a man asking for $7.00 to help him buy a bus ticket.  He said he was homeless and living at the Mission.

The funny thing about this guy is that he looked like a "normal" guy.  He had teeth, hair, non-tattered clothing.  He looked able-bodied and from a good home.

Drugs. I know it.  There no reason that this young man should not be working.

So, why did I give him money?  Because I wanted to believe his story.  You see, someone I love has had addiction issues this past year.  I saw in that man--the person I love and want to see survive.

I told him about Jesus as I was giving him the money.  He was in the highly agreeable mode at this point, head-nodding to everything I said.  And I knew that.  "yeah.. I know God and Jesus"
his mouth said, but his heart was far from it.

And as soon as the money was in his hand, he was out of there like a flash.  I even tried to track his whereabouts in the parking lot as I left, but there was no sign of him.

But he gave me his name: Ryan.

So now what?

I was going to burst into tears but I thought better of it, since I had to teach pilates at noon, and it was already 11:30.

And I know it won't do any good, but I have a message for my little homeless friend.  Here is everything I wish I could have said.  Not that I am expecting you to read this, but it makes me feel better to write it.

To the homeless man named Ryan who received $11.00 from me in the Sam's Parking Lot on Wednesday November 28, 2012,

I gave you money, even though I knew you would spend it on drugs.  I could tell by your sweating that your body was already starting to go through withdrawls.  I do not know what $11.00 got you that day, but I'm sure you are still out searching for more, even as we speak. 

       So, I looked at you.  You are young, strong, and appear to be from a good upbringing.  What went wrong?  Do your parents know where you are? Do they know what you are doing to yourself?  Did you play football in highschool or college?  How and when did you start this crazy lifestyle?      

What do you plan to do about your life?  Your options are: 1) continue on doing what you are doing until you end up dead or in jail.  2) get into a good rehab, find the Lord, commit to changing your life and make something of yourself.  Option 1 is what you are currently doing.  Option 2 hurts and is very painful for most people.  Atleast, the rehab part is hard.  Finding Jesus is the good part.  And trying to do a combination of 1 and 2 never works.  

Drugs are more powerful than you are.  If you think you can do this alone, you can't.  And if you think you can do this without Jesus, you really can't.

Oh, and the next time I see you, I am buying you lunch and we will talk about these things more.  But you aren't getting in my car, because that's too dangerous for me.  You can walk to McDonalds and I'll meet you there.  And then I will call my husband to join us.  And then we will deliver you back to the mission or wherever you decide to check yourself into for help.

Your friend...  (my signature)


sara said...

Sweet. I'll pray for Ryan today.

I don't know if you're feeling some awkward regret for giving to a drug addict, but if you do, maybe Luke 6:30 will make you feel better. :)

My Pastor when I was growing up said he liked to give to everyone who asks and let God sort it out.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh Jena, i love your heart.

And Sara, I would be very, very careful about what your pastor said. The director of the local Gospel Mission where we live BEGS people NOT to give cash (Jena, no disrespect intended...) because most likely you're an accessory to their destruction.

I love the meet-for-lunch-at-McDonald's idea :D


sara said...

Well Julie, if your conscience dictates, there are things to give besides cash.

sara said...

a good example of non-cash giving here.

Maybe the homeless man was without shoes because he spent every last cent on crack. So what?

Herding Grasshoppers said...


You're right - there are great ways to help and give, without giving cash. We have financially supported our local mission for years. Other ideas? Carry sack lunches with (or without) tracts and information about the local mission or other local services. Donate to or help at the food bank. Organize a day with local professionals where the homeless/poor can be seen by a dentist or doctor for free. Provide lunch. Carry shoes,socks, coats, and toiletries to give out.

But don't give money. It sure sounds compassionate, but it's usually not. Just like Jena said, she knew the guy was going to go spend it on his next fix.


sara said...

Julie, I don't think our opinions are too far apart on this. We obviously don't agree 100%, but I think we're both speaking honestly from experience. I have a lot of thoughts on this issue, but maybe we'd better stop hogging Jena's comment section. Maybe we should blog about it? :)

Jena, you are an excellent hostess.

Mrs. Parunak said...

I've given cold hard cash to pan handlers, too, even the ones I KNEW were lying to me and hustling. We prefer to give food, but sometimes it isn't an easy option, especially when I'm alone or with the children, and my husband isn't there.

Jenny P. said...

We'll be lifting Ryan in prayer tonight with you.

Jena Webber said...

I agree with all of you. It's impossible to help someone when: you don't have a husband or food on hand, and you do happen to have a few bucks. But I think he could have walked to the McDonalds from Sams. Who knows? Maybe he'll remember me and he'll jump out from no where and I can try again.. As for all you, I'm so glad to see such loving, generous hearts for the homeless. There so many people out there who need help and Jesus.

kathrynwarmstrong said...

Thanks for your compassion. Don't you wish he could read your letter? Maybe someone else with an addiction will.