Posted on September 6, 2017 | Posted by Mary Stoneback
Over the Labor Day weekend, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with someone which changed my perspective on life. It happened quite expectantly, while capturing video of a bell tower at a local church. As I focused on the bell tower, I heard a man’s voice in the distance apologizing. Confused, I put down my camera and asked him who he was talking to? As he continued to hurriedly pack up his things, he said he was sorry but he just needed to charge his phone and rest for awhile but would move. I responded he was fine and I was just working on a project and decided to make my way over to where he was sitting. As I got closer and he continued to explain his situation, it was apparent the man was homeless. I admit that I was confronted by a flood of thoughts, including whether or not it was safe to stay. I decided to talk awhile and asked him how he was doing. The rest is what I call a God thing.
We talked for a half hour, person-to-person, sharing about life. I learned he was 33 years old, yet the years on the streets masked his young adulthood. Originally from Miami, he said he was still getting used to a kinder police force, who actually seemed to care for his well-being, rather than treat him with automatic suspicion, although of course that was par for the course. Among other things, he was scared of his health and wondered if he had diabetes, but not sure what to do about it if he did have the disease. Colorado Springs, while beautiful was boring to him. I suggested boredom could happen whether homeless or not and added that often people come to Colorado for its hiking and mountains. In response he said, “that’s my life. I walk.” Curious I asked him whether he lived in a homeless shelter. On and off, he said, shelters worked but for him are not the easiest of places to reside. Then he asked me whether I knew where Fillmore and Centennial was. “Yes,” I responded and he replies, “that’s where I live.”
As we wrapped up the conversation he apologized for talking my ear off but that he was grateful for the conversation and being treated like a person. “I guess I needed it,” he shared. I shook his hand and said, “me too.” Parting ways I thanked God for the opportunity to hear him out and in so doing, learn of a brother’s concerns for life.
May God bless the men and women who reside at the intersections in our city and may God continually open our eyes to how we live at these intersections as well.
By Deacon Mary Stoneback