It has been an interesting three weeks. We have been busy with National Novel Writing Month, National Homeless Awareness Month, National Caregiver Month, and National Epilepsy Month. Through writing I generally find release from the stress that cause me to seize. Yah, me! However, there are those times that there is no amount of writing that will eliminate the seizures from happening. I have had only a few serious ones this week. Though most of them this month have been aura seizures. They are not fun, though I do learn a little bit more about how to deal with them. The biggest issue with these are the fact that I would rather be outside living in a rebuilt wigwam than in our apartment. I understand that it would not be fair to Sweets to put us back on the streets though we seem to thrive there more than we do living in our apartment. It comes from the basic fact that I feel like I am accomplishing something for the Lord than I do living like normal people. I know the Lord sent us to Clio. We seem to be sent where we are needed. It is interesting to see the influence our life has had on others.
My first experience with this was when I went to New Eagle Pennsylvania for work and by the time I arrived the job I had been promised was gone. The company had been awarded a government contract and they were hiring people from far and wide. I was given two weeks to get out there I had arrived within ten days and spent every dime I had to get there. I arrived there to find out that the company had lost the contract and had closed down. The internet back then was not as great as it is today and what little I could find on the company showed that it had been operating in the black. I figured everything was good. Little did I know that, that information was outdated. So within two weeks of arriving in town with little to my name I was homeless in a foreign place. I have want to go back many times over the ten plus years. That town was your typical small town. Sure there was drama like you find in any small town but, you also could find people with a warm heart to help a stranger and in the time I had been there I met some of the best people I have ever known.
Well, I had become homeless while Phelps was winning in the Olympics. And I ended up in Lansing with my name and not much else. I stayed at the shelter for a number of months, right through the Winter and then I had the opportunity to get a room, a room I could afford while keeping busy with becoming an advocate. I felt useful again. I know I had been useful before, each night while I stayed at the shelter I would sit up and pray for each bed at the shelter. And I saw the results of those prayers in the most unusual unique way. I had been praying for about a month when a newbie to the shelter had found out I had been praying every night for him. He told me to stop he did not want a white boy praying for him. I prayed all the more.
A couple of days later he was due to be picked up for his family Thanksgiving dinner and just as he was reaching for the handle of the car door he heard the night watchman, which happened to be the shelter’s preacher at the time, call his name. It was odd he thought that the preacher was still at the shelter so he stepped back away from the curb and turned to see what the preacher wanted. It turned out no one was even there. The next moment the car he was going to get in but stepped away from was ran into, by a city bus I believe. The car was totaled from the rear end collision, the second blessing was the driver walked away unharmed, not even whiplash. That evening I was thanked for the prayers.
Each night I was praying and during the day I was down to a local non-profit that was working with a national organization to help put together the Homeless Bill of Rights. I was learning what it took to stand up for my fellow homeless brethren. Well, I had that going on and the prayers and about three months of staying at the shelter, around November I think I received an email from the pastor at the church I had been attending in New Eagle. My impact there was not expected by me, we never know what seed are planted or watered. I had carried with me at that time a Bible, of course it was a King James Bible, and a copy of In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. And after leaving I was informed that the pastor and his wife picked up a copy to read and within a week of my leaving the entire church body had taken to reading In His Steps and most of them took up the challenge mentioned in the book. If, In His Steps is unfamiliar to you, that is the book that spurred on the ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ movement.
I was floored that such a thing happened where I had been. Those people saw me as the homeless man that came to their church to awaken it to Jesus and His work, just as the tramp from In His Steps did to the church in the book. And yes, while I was there I had become very sick. Me and the mountains do not get along. My mountain sickness was causing me to experience the more severe symptoms and I was unable at that time to get treatment. Not until I was able to get back to Michigan. So I fit the bill for the homeless tramp in the book. The pastor and a couple members made sure that I was taken care of enough to assist my brother getting me back to Lansing. In the few months from being newly divorced, to leaving state for a job, to becoming homeless and then getting to the point of getting that apartment for the first time I had been getting used by the Lord God, I would pray and he would send me somewhere. Of course, I made plenty of mistakes along the way but, I was following His leading in my life. And regardless of how bad I want to return to the streets, I know he sent Sweets and I to Clio.
After Sweets and I met and ended up on the streets together a few months later I we prayed before we became homeless and yet again He told us to go and we obeyed and went.
Semper Fidelis, Sweets and Elroy