Guest Post – “I am nobody”

I really love helping out at the “sans logis” (literally: for those without lodging).  Around the time I got there, in the matter of a week or so we doubled the amount of people coming through for “petit déjeuner”.  Most people simply want cafe au lait (half coffee, half milk) with some bread and jam.  The breakdown of the people that show up:

  • 20-30 regulars
  • 20 new faces
  • 20 irregulars

People have started to express an interest in me as they see that: a) I’m sticking around for awhile b) I am always making an effort to smile c) happy to chat!  On Wednesday, I asked a few of the regulars their names.  Many introduced themselves to me and I to them.  One of the regulars didn’t offer his name so I politely asked his.  “Personne” (literally: “person”) he replied.  “Person” I thought to myself, that’s weird to call yourself even as a joke.  His friends quickly pointed out it wasn’t his actual name.  Later, as I was on the train coming home I realized the second possible interpretation for the same word.. “nobody”.  He introduced himself to me as “nobody”.  My heart sank.

Some of the regulars

Our seating.. it’s not a big place

This center also takes in second hand clothing and has a morning each week where people can come in and choose some clothes.  I was helping them sort through some of the clothing that was coming in.  It was pretty horrible stuff: old bras, lots of pants for gigantic men, blazers and sports jackets.  Really?  Who’s going to want this stuff.  So I’ll put it out there to you people:

How can we get these homeless people better clothes? 

  • Calling up corporate (Nike, Adidas, etc) for the different firms for donations?  What would be in it for them?
  • Getting hooked up with more Parisian churches for donations?  City halls of small towns around Paris?
  • …??

Plus a great picture of us hanging out Paris on the many “bank holidays”.  Made EXTRA LARGE for your viewing pleasure:

Taken by our new friend and team member: Sarah from Memphis!

2 comments on “Guest Post – “I am nobody”

  1. Diane McCooeye says:

    wow… nobody….so when he meets our Jesus…he becomes a somebody…so fear not…Our God is in the Middle of it all..because of your being there…
    does anyone sew .. to make the larger clothes maybe smaller…the stuff that is pretty good but just too big…??
    sticking around to talk and your smile…..they begin to Trust you…and then will open up more…building relationships….just like Jesus did…
    Good stuff…. as we journey with you back home in prayer
    Great picture…. sending prayers & hugs
    Very Hot back home….with lots of Son/Sunshine….

  2. Keith Hawn says:

    Another possible interpretation of chosing to call yourself “person” is someone who has transcended ego. By being known as “person” then barriers are removed which separate us from our fellow man. Consider how much better the world might be if we didn’t have so much invested in our personal identities, which we feel obligated to defend. Consider also the difficulty we would have in defining someone who is simply known as “person”. We must remain open to all possible opportunities to get to know this “person”, since their name gives us no clue as to how to pigeon-hole them in our internal database.

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