I love to spend time with people on the street. Sometimes all someone needs is a kind word spoken over their lives. I also teach a writers workshop, and life skills, to help people create a vision for their future. Many of our workshop participants are no longer homeless. Restoration, hope, and love, is what it’s all about. If you’d like to buy a writing journal for an individual on the street, or would like to contribute your time or resources to a writer’s workshop or food for the homeless, please contact us via email: Tflemings@sbcglobal.net
An Open Letter
Standing today in a frigid, icy parking lot with about 300 of the homeless in my city, I had many revelations about life. I’m always taught so much during these Sundays, which are the finest two hours of my entire week.
A man named Lowell approached and asked me to read his journal. He wrote an incredible essay about how we view him, from his perspective, as a survivor on the street. It was called “Don’t wake me or I’ll come up Swinging.” A lot of what he wrote represented the pain that comes from living on the edge. But aren’t we all, in our frailties, so close to it?
I wrote a blog entry titled Trophies once, and this week I made 200 copies for my friends out there in the parking lot. We’ve packaged up Christmas gifts with the necessities, such as toothbrushes and bibles and blankets, but the letter was something I really believed in. I’ll continue writing them each week, and placing them in envelopes. The inspiration that our words can bring to someone’s life, can change a life. I know this one, from personal experience.
Please read my blog entry below, which I originally just wrote for myself as an afterthought, and if you feel so inclined, leave a comment.
Trophies (November 23, 2008)
I got into the car one morning and looked inside my center console, to find my three year old’s soccer trophy. I found it interesting that he had left it there because just the day prior the trophies were handed out to my sons at the last soccer game of the season by the coach, (also their dad.) The 5 year old had waited the entire season for the trophy. His best friend, another 5 year old on the team, had been talking about the trophy he’d receive for days. All of the boys badly longed for that gold trophy, and could not wait to receive it!
In the world we live in, we continually strive for the trophies of reward that signify each achievement and decade. One year it’s a new car trophy, the next a new job, a new achievement, the latest technology, laptop, gadget, grill, fill in the blank.
Our trophies are material, and our trophies are immaterial. Most of the time we take it for granted that in other countries where people are hungering for a meal, that in ours, we have access to any kind of trophy we want. Trophies represent achievement, sure. But what if we didn’t have to achieve anything at all to be happy, and what if we didn’t need some material representation of a reward?
The trophy was so important to the five year old that he carried it gingerly inside the house and placed it on the shelf in the living room for all to see. Anyone who walked in was told about the trophy, and how he earned it.
When I got into the car and saw my 3 year old’s trophy lying there among old scraps of paper, a pen, and some change, I smiled.
In a world where trophy’s matter, it was nice to know someone who just didn’t care.