A Heart for the Homeless.

3 Aug

My memory recalls it all quite vividly.
Perhaps it was because I thought myself near death’s doorway.
I can still see her, sitting in the passenger seat as I drove her back to Coatesville. Eyes Gleaming with tears, muttering random words as she tried to piece her life together for me, occasionally a line or two I could understand.
This night Is important you see, because it is the night God changed my heart for the Homeless.
I recall that it was a late night at the Youth Center. I had stayed later than the rest, but I was awfully tired, and I prayed as usual, that “Oh dear Lord, Help me not to fall asleep on the wheel.”
Eleven PM. I heard the lock click on the door behind me, and began walking across the street to my car. Dim lights from the Shell pave my way.
But then I see her. She’s coming towards me. I tense up.
“Oh Please no. Not now.” A homeless person? In Honey Brook? Her claims of a fallen through court case and no money did nothing to me. All the usual thoughts ran through my head. I’ve been trained how to think through and justify ignoring people like this.
But tonight. I couldn’t.
“Coatesville,” She mutters, “I just need to get to Coatesville.” I avoid eye contact. Why, oh Why, Did I have to be the last person to leave?
I slam my hands into my jacket pockets.
I know. I know. I KNOW that I cannot drive home and leave her there.
My mission does NOT begin as I walk through the Youth Center doors, and my mission does NOT end as I usher the last child out and lock the YC doors.
My life is a beating heart ministry. My very heart beat is not my own.
“Oh! But I need my Sleep!” “Oh, But I need to drive her to Coatesville!” Good thing I didn’t know much of Coatesville.
I stick my head through Danielle’s front door. She’s still up talking with her bro. “I’m just…uh…taking some Homeless person to Coatesville…So uh…If I don’t ever come back…” A Nervous laugh. I shut the door. It’s a joke of course.
Uh. Of course.
I didn’t get home till after one that night. She didn’t know directions. Neither did I. She was freezing cold and kept the heat on HIGH for a full hour and a half.
I don’t think I cooled down for days after that.
But I heard her story. Heard how her friend got killed “Right there at that old hardware store.” Heard her heart. And God changed me. A girl who used to be afraid of The Homeless, into a girl who now has a Heart for The Homeless.

That was a year ago. Maybe two. I can’t quite remember. But it changed me.
Months later. I pick up another lady. I’m driving from the Youth Center to Gap park. We talk. We cry. And once more, I’m changed.
Over and Over since my First Coatesville run, God stops my tires for the cause of a Stranger. I’m not quite sure why they always seem to be on my route.
But I think God puts them there.
He puts them here too. In Phnom Penh. And this week. I read in the Book of Job, “Did I Not weep for him who was in trouble? Was not my heart grieved for the poor and needy?..” And I hear HIM ask me.
“You Remember Coatesville Lady? You remember Times Square Lady? You remember that man holding the sign in Lancaster City? That Old lady you didn’t stop to help in a New Holland side alley?…Did you weep over them? Was your heart grieved over them?…”
And I begin to See. And I begin to Learn. That I CAN do something for the needy. I CAN do something for the oppressed. I CAN stab to death my old mindset of: God help that Homeless Person because I can do nothing…
Because God Help Me, I CAN do something!
But Will I be willing? Will I have courage?
And So I begin. Now.
On a fresh page of my journal.
I label it: What I can Do for the Poor. The Hungry. The Orphan. The Homeless. The Beggar. The Sinner. and The Saint.
And I begin to write down what I can do…
I begin with: “I CAN! Make eye contact and acknowledge them.”
It’s not much. But it’s a start. And you can too.

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4 Responses to “A Heart for the Homeless.”

  1. clarita August 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    my eyes are brimming this tears… i love how you write exactly how you talk, because in my mind i can just hear you saying this. you have a beautiful heart, claudia, and you challenge me to the same… ♥

  2. Alicia August 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Forgive me for commenting on (almost) every post. But in truth, my thoughts have been almost on the exact same page. A heart for the homeless. For the children. It’s so easy to become calloused. This is good, Claude. Really good.

  3. Rebecca Rose August 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    This is amazing.

    Amazing.

    You are voicing the very ponderings of my heart.

  4. Chelsea Anne August 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Truth! Bless you!

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