Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Philly Part 4-Illegal Love

Day 4

Wednesday night, we headed out to the parkway about 6:30-7ish, and gave out bag lunches we had prepared earlier in the day. Many of the homeless people gathered, expecting a group to be there with food. And so we sat with them, and listened as they shared their stories.
Its actually illegal to give out free food in Philadelphia. I don't know about the rest of the group, but every time a cop car came wizzing by with lights on, I kept an eye on it, until it it continued on its way down the street. Illegal love in the park.

I talked to a guy named Paul, who I found easy to converse with, because he resembled a cool professor I have here at East Carolina. Paul I found out, had graduated high school, had held several jobs, but in his mid 30’s had been homeless for about 8 years. He’d once been a trucker, but “felt that a monkey could drive a truck” and so tried seeking a job that would use more intellect.

When he hit hard times he returned home, to his parent’s house in Philly. But his father is an alcoholic, and unbearable to live with. Finding no help there, Paul took to the streets. He dislikes staying in the shelter, because of how depressing it is. He used to stay fit, running a lot, but then lost motivation to keep it up.

From talking with him, the biggest hurdle he faced was the loneliness that gripped him. He has a hard time finding company, even a friend to talk to on a regular basis. With no one in his life, no one around, he found little reason to try to get his life back. He simply lost all motivation to go out and find a job, even though he has several qualifications that would benefit him.

I listened to him for a while, able to relate somewhat to his story. I encouraged him, telling him that I have faith, and still do, that he could work construction again, land a job that can pay well enough to begin getting his own place for the very first time in his life.
Even now I am praying that this comes to pass.

After prayer and he departed, I walked over and joined some of the other members in our group as they talked to Roger, a guy who could be Samuel L. Jackson’s double. They were talking about faith. Roger doesn’t believe in Paul, or Peter’s testimonies. He also quoted a verse where according to Roger, God called people gods. We were unable to find the verse to read it in context.

Eventually we did find some common ground, we then prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. Never have I prayed the following verse so appropriately

“Give us this day our daily bread”

Returned to the CSM house overwhelmed. After mustering up the energy to get cleaned up, some letters were delivered to us. Students in CCF had written encouraging letters to us, reminding us of the power of God, and personally reminding us of the work of God through us. After reading the letters, I became ready to finish the rest of the week. To those who wrote, you brought me back from the brink of hopelessness.

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