Recently, I participated in a ministry to a sampling of homeless in the little five points district of Atlanta. I was a guest of my good friend, (also ex sister-in law) Tami Warman and her Husband, Craig. As we approached our destination, I was unsure of how I would fit in . But after unloading the car and walking over to the crowd, I felt a sense of calm set in. This was going to be alright! I met so many people I do not remember all the names. I do remember their smiling faces. Humbling, as we got out the Homeless approched asking for underwear and simple necessities. Tami was ready for this and was able to give out what they needed. They were extremely grateful. I met the gentleman who speaks to the group on occasion, he asked if I had come ready to say anything. I was caught off guard. I had not planned anything at all. But his warmth convinced me I should say something from the heart. I gathered all my courage and did so. I started to speak and it was as if I was on autopilot. The words came out smoothly and I was not nervous.
A woman named Kaye was our speaker that morning. The audience of mostly homeless listened intently. I enjoyed her sermon and learned from it! After she finished the homeless man next to me said he had something to say. What he said was very poignant. He made the point that others come there to pray for them every week and they have grown to expect it. But he said they need to be strong. They have to learn to pray for themselves. They need to learn to bring God into their lives themselves to lift themselves out of their homeless state and their addictions. Several asked for prayers. Some too choked up to even say the reason for the prayers. But when that fellow beside me finished talking I was thinking about how cocky I was coming there. I figured I would come up there, pray for them and help them out. I would be doing these homeless people a good deed. But they are the ones who taught me! I learned from THEM! It was a humbling experience. I brought food. It was a very fulfilling experience to feed the hungry. There were no leftovers. Everyone was satisfied….and appreciative.
I was able to give a woman a used Nike outfit I could no longer wear. I brought it in a party bag. She was so excited about that suit. It was as if I gave her a wad of money. She had someone guard that bag when she got up to get food or leave her spot on the bench. She was truly grateful.
A few weeks before my visit, Tami had asked for donations of coats and blankets for the homeless. I went through my things and got up a donation. Those who know me know I am a blanket fanatic. I LOVE soft blankets and have a few. I was able to give some of them away. There were a few I had out to give away, but put back as I just could not cut ties with them. I was sentimentally attached. One blanket was a cheetah print that was so soft it was ridiculous! Here’s my Karma story. D and I went out on the Boat last weekend Fishing. it was early morning when we went out and a little cool. So I took the beloved cheetah blanket. As the sun came out I forgot about cheetah. One time as D was moving from one fishing spot to another Cheetah, left abandoned on the boat deck, caught a gust of wind and was off into West Point Lake with the fishes. Never will be seen or enjoyed again. Karma? I don’t know, but all I could think of at that moment was Dang, I should have given that blanket to the homeless!
Today at Kroger one of my regular customers came up to a robot with three super soft blankets and wanted a price check. She said one of them was on sale and didn’t know which one. When we figured out which one was on sale. We were chatting about our mutual love of blankets. So I told her how my blanket had blown away and I should buy one of those after I get off. We laughed about the Karma of it all. But do you know what she did? She bought me a blanket. That sweet lady bought me a blanket! So I have to pay it forward. I’m going into my gargantuan blanket bin and pick one of my favorite blankets out to give to the homeless. It’s gonna hurt so good!
Wanted to share a recent story that made news from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A priest was arrested for serving food on the streets. (Like we did) He had done this since 1991 through his outreach program called, “Love thy Neighbor”.