It’s one thing when you look at the statistics about homelessness in America, but it’s an entirely different matter when you get the chance to talk with someone who’s homeless. Putting a face on any issue automatically changes how you see it.
I met Tim tonight at Room in the Inn. He’s a gregarious and friendly fellow who has probably never met a stranger.
He also found out recently that he has stage 2 colon cancer.
He’s the one who can cheer up just about anybody with his off-the-wall, zany brand of humor. He can make anyone forget about their problems for a while. But who will be the one to cheer him up now that he’s facing an uncertain future?
I’m fairly certain that my 3-year old niece has more teeth in her head than Tim does in his. He won’t grace the cover of any GQ magazines anytime soon. But I’d rather hang out with him than with any superstar I could think of, because Tim is the real deal.
When you look at numbers on a page, it’s easy to say that people are homeless because they’re lazy and undisciplined. But when you meet someone and see that he or she’s not that much different than you, then the issue becomes a bit more complicated.
I bet you’ve probably met some without realizing it because many of those who are homeless may look and act and talk just like you or me.
If you want to make a difference, you can never go wrong with a little compassion and a listening ear.
Most of these guys want more than anything to be heard and to be acknowledged. And boy, do they have some good stories to tell if you’re willing to listen.
It’s only by the grace of God that I’m not sleeping outside tonight. Before I close my eyes on my soft pillow in my cozy bed, I’ll be saying a prayer for Tim and thanking God for another example of how His blessings so often come in disguise.