Early in the week I reached out to a few people with some specific areas for support/advice. The response was really quite overwhelming, so for those who have been thinking about it and giving us support, a big thank you hug:
Lydia* the transgendered atheist– Last week I got invited to come check out the “literature bibles” another Christian organization had setup close to a metro. It’s basically a bunch of different short pieces of literature about certain Christian topics that might interest people. Sometimes people just want to talk. Now, I have to confess: chatting with random people on the street and initiating a discussion about spiritual matters is not my strong suit. As I was talking to Jim the organizer, a woman walked up and started shouting at him from afar saying he’s part of a cult, he is doing horrible things by talking about Jesus etc etc. As she approached, he mentioned she often comes to visit on Tuesdays. I love engaging with people and hearing the story:
Me: So not a fan of Jim?
Her: No! He’s a horrible person trying convert people to his cult. He should be teaching about Nietzsche.
Me: Humm.. I don’t know much about Nietzsche. Why do you say Christianity is a cult? … I was asking lots of questions and trying to understand her perspective of things …
Her: Christianity is a hateful organization. They hate gays!
Me: I totally agree with you that Christians have done horrible things to people who are gay, and I don’t agree with how they treated them. Christians should be acting more like Jesus. How would you say Jesus would have interacted with someone who identified themselves as gay?
Her: ** For the first time she pauses, and softens in her posture. She then turns back to her argumentative stance** It doesn’t matter! You’re in a cult! Try to escape… you seem like a smart, nice person.
We spoke for another 10 minutes. I found her really interesting and educated. She brought up a bunch of complex Canadian political issues. She told me later she was a transgendered person. I was really happy at the end we were able to shake hands.
Michel getting some tangible encouragement – Every day I show up at the sans logis, Michel (another volunteer) has already been there long before everyone else. He gets the milk, coffee and all the bowls ready. Today though, something was off, he just didn’t seem happy. While the rest of the crew and I were finishing up, one of the ladies mentioned he was totally out of cash. He normally loves doing the dishes but they were all piled up and Michel was no where to be found! I found him out from of the building reading a book.
Me: Everything okay?
Him: No.. I’ve got no money. No where to sleep.
Me: Whoa.. You’re homeless too? I had no idea.
Me: Here’s 50 euros some people at home gave me to bless people. I really feel Jesus would want you to have it.
Him: Say what?!?!?!? HAHAHAHA!! Dieu est grand! DIEU EST GRAND! I was crying to get some money from God. Look at my knees! They are sore from all the praying (he actually showed me his knees).
Turns out Michel doesn’t have a place to live anymore. They let him keep his small stuff at in a closet at the sans logis but his bigger stuff is in a secure self-storage facility. He had to come up with another 57 euros in two days or they will move his stuff out. He said he now has faith for the extra 7 euros. Go God!
Mathieu* lost his courage – I sat with some of my favorite dudes during breakfast to ask him how things were going:
Mathieu: Not good at all. I’m crazy anxious.
Me: Oh yeah? Why’s that?
Mathieu: I’m not sure it’s always been that way.
Me: I hear you. I deal with lots of different things I fear. I find that it makes me want to control things. I have realized that I can only control so much. The extent that God can control things is so much wider that I’m learning to depend on Him more.
Mathieu: I would like the pray, but I cannot. I’m not even sure why. It seems like my heart “a perdu tous mon courage” (has lost all courage/hope). If I didn’t have these guys (points to his friends having breakfast at the table next to us), I’m sure I would jump off a building somewhere.
We had a great chat about him being a waiter, sharing his studio apartment with other homeless friends. He really wants to work/live outside to enjoy the simplicities of life. I offered to offer him some of my energies to help him find a job like that but he declined and insisted I don’t pursue it: “you have a beautiful family to take care of”. I said: “If that’s what you think would help you the most, I will pray for you and bring you café”
The fam visits the sans logis – All the homeless folk always ask about my family. I thought I’d introduce them! It was a hoot. I think everyone just enjoyed the baby’s fresh face smiling back at them unconditionally.
* Not their real names