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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What if Your Dad Was Homeless?

    Last night, my husband went to pick up a few things from the store. About 30 min after he left I get a call from him "Hey, I need to ask you a question. Is it alright if this homeless guy comes over to take a shower and get something to eat?" Now, I'll admit the first thing I thought was no way. I was actually a bit cross at my husband for even suggesting it! I was going to say "I don't think that's a good idea", but before those words came out of my mouth God softened my heart. "I guess that would be fine." I ended up saying. My husband then said "Great! We'll be home in a bit. By the way, he has had a bit to drink. Just please don't say anything" I felt my face get hot with anger "O.K" I said and hung up.
    Honestly after I hung up, I said to myself  "I don't even let my dad come to my house ,since he is always drinking. How can I not say anything to this man?" My heart was hardened again and I did not want him to come over.
     About 30 min later my husband comes in with a bunch of grocery bags. Initially he had went to the store to pick up 2 or 3 items! After putting the bags in the kitchen my husband went back outside and when coming in had this man's bags. I thought, cant this man help him? About 1 min later this man came in. "Glenda, this is Jimmy. Jimmy, this is my wife Glenda." my husband said. "Nice to meet you Glenna" Said Jimmy. "Glenda" said my husband. "Who?" said Jimmy. OH great! I thought looking at him, seeing that, in fact he had been a bit drunk.
     I kept thinking of my dad. "Hi, nice to meet you." I said. My husband then asked "Do you want to take a shower first? How about getting something to eat first?"
"Eating first sounds good." said Jimmy.
     He sat on the love seat, across from me and then said "I don't want to be a bother. If I am, please tell me." Along with his backpack he had a plastic bag. "People are so kind... I went into the bathroom at the store and someone put this bag of clothes in my cart!" I said "That was nice of them." He started pulling clothes out and everything was new. The tags were just taken off. He showed us some pants and shirts. He said "these all won't fit in my bag. I carry 3 sets of clothing." He pulled a few more shirts out looked a them and said "This will fit your son and these will fit your wife." Handing my husband a few shirts. "I can't carry these since I don't have any room"
     My husband was in and out of the living room and the kitchen, since he was making steaks for everyone. You could see the joy in his heart while taking these clothes out of the bags and looking at them. He said "Not a lot of people want to help someone. Some people have such big hearts" Looking at him I said,  "You're right some do." As soon as I had  said these words I got hit with conviction. I am the one that didn't want him coming to my house..I am the one that would have rather given him a few bucks than for him to use my shower. I felt so horrible! My husband then said that a lot of  those groceries were for him and that he bought items that didn't need refrigeration, besides some lunch meat and cheese for the next day. Jimmy was ever so thankful!
     While my husband was in the kitchen, I got to talk with Jimmy. He was in Vietnam for 4 years and was 63 years old. He had a daughter named Star that was 40 who lived in Mississippi along with 2 grandsons. He gets Social Security, but only 320 dollars a month, not enough to get him a place. His wife was murdered in a robbery when his daughter was young and he had to raise her alone. "What do you do during the day?" I asked. "I sit at Wal Mart, talk to the employees and wait for the night. At 11pm I set up my cardboard box to sleep. I just wait for my Social Security check to come in" He answered.
"Does your daughter know where you are?" I asked. He then looked sad and said "I haven't talked to her in 6 months. I don't like to call her when I have been drinking. The last time I talked to her was in December"
     As a daughter of a man who is a bad alcoholic, I knew his daughter was worried about him. There are days when I think I'm going to get a call and someone is going to tell me my father has passed. My dad has grazed death too many times for me to count or want to think of.
     He then took off his jacket and told me how his arm was messed up and he couldn't put it in the arm of his sleeve. I had been wondering why he was wearing his jacket with one arm out. "A few weeks ago I got hit by a car. It hurts too much to move it this way" he said, while moving his arm as if he was going to put it in the sleeve of his coat.
     Right then I knew he had to call his daughter just to let her know he was ok. Funny though, my husband thought the same thing at the exact same moment and came into the living room. "Would you like to call your daughter? I have a calling card your could use." Jimmy's eyes lit up and you could see how excited he was to get a chance to speak with his baby."That would be great! Let me find the number." I remembered that he didn't like to talk to his daughter being drunk and whispered that to my husband, while Jimmy was looking in his wallet for the number. "If you want I can talk to her and let her know that you are alright" my husband then said. "Ok, here it is. Let me put my glasses on, since I can't read without them." He gave my husband the number."Is this Star? I believe I know your father Jimmy." As soon as my husband said this, I knew that her heart must have skipped a beat in fear of hearing some horrible news." I have him here at my house."
     Jimmy did want to talk to her then and my husband handed him the phone " Hi sweetheart." he said with the biggest smile on his face. I started to tear up. My father also when drunk calls me sweetheart. Just listening to him talk, the slower speech caused by his drinking and him repeating himself a few times reminded me of my dad 100%. He told her he was going to get sober and go visit her and her kids since it has been 10 years since they have last seen each other. I kept on tearing up, my heart going out to his daughter. After he was done talking to her, my husband got the phone to talk to Star. He went outside to ask her if she wanted him out there.
     I looked at Jimmy and he had his face in his hands and when he took his hands away I saw the tears in this eyes. He said "My daughter is a sweetheart. She loves me very much, but she just hates me drinking." I told him "You remind me of my dad. I know how she feels."  I was able to witness to him and give him my testimony which was a plus. He responded in the same way my dad does. That's ok. I know God will work on his heart.
     My husband came in and made him his plate. He wasn't able to finish it, since he doesn't eat very often. After eating he then took a shower. While he was in the shower my husband said "His daughter said no way about him going there..unless he was sober. She said that she has kids and doesn't want to put them through that." I said that sounds just like me. There were times that my dad wanted to spend the night and I said no way because of that very same reason.
     "I feel bad about dropping him off on the corner. Do you think he could spend the night." I had a feeling that he was going to ask this. I was thinking the same thing though, but I didn't want him to sleep over since I sleep in the living room on the recliner. I feed my daughter all night long and she uses me as a paci. I said "I don't know" He came out of the shower and got his stuff ready asking if my husband was ready to go. My husband then asked if he would like to spend the night. He said that he didn't want to be a bother and he was just thankful for the shower and the meal. Before I knew it, I said "It's no bother" My husband said "You can have my bed and I'll sleep on the floor"  He said there was no way he would take his bed and let my husband sleep on the floor. He has slept on the ground for years.
     My husband ended up sleeping in the living room with me. (I sleep on the recliner because of my back there is no way I can lay flat and it is so much easier sleeping like that with my daughter, since I'm always feeding her). We talked for a bit and my son wanted Jimmy to read him a  book. Jimmy put his glasses on and was happy to read him a few books. Jimmy said to me "tomorrow I'm going to meet up with a friend of mine and ask him to take me to Cruces so I can sober up" (there is a hospital out there) "That's great!" I told him. He ended up going to sleep, since he said he was tired and it was already 12 am. He didn't once come out and was sound asleep in no time. He had a great nights sleep and my husband took him back to his spot this morning. When he came back my husband said he gave him $5. Even though we aren't able to fully pay the bills this month, I knew Jimmy needed it more. Plus I know God will provide for us. He asked if that was ok. Of course it was!

 Here is Jimmy reading to my son.
  
    This man reminded me so much of my father. MY father could be the one who was homeless. This man is Veteran who only gets 320 a month from Social Security not enough to live on. Jimmy had mentioned money wasn't anything to him. A friend was the best thing to have. Sometimes we see people in need, give them a few dollars and are on our way. Not another thought crosses our mind. These people are like you and me. Some are fathers and mothers. Sometimes they need someone to just care about them. It's lonely for them on the street, since people rarely want to talk to them, are too busy or just act like they don't see them. We all need to remember that this could be OUR father, mother, sister, brother, daughter or son. How would you want people to react towards them? If we all have this mindset how much more differently would these people be treated? I'm not saying to take every person homeless in, but to be a friend or someone to talk to if needed. My husband used his discretion and in no way were or could we have been in danger. My husband is a BIG boy and nobody would want to overstep their boundaries with him.

     My husband noticed that Jimmy left his ring that says "DAD" on it near the bed. Jimmy told me his daughter bought it for him 20 years go and it was special to him. So, before Jimmy leaves my husband is going to try to find him to give it back to him. I'm happy that Jimmy was able to come by and teach me a thing or two about giving an ear and not just a buck.

42 comments:

Bree said...

WOW. how amazing and yes, I am a little teary, trying to play it cool with a few people nearby. Thanks so much for sharing. Giving is an amazing, wonderful thing and not only your heart was obviously blessed but I am sure your finances will be as well!

Alisha said...

Wow, Glenda! That's a powerful story. You may have touched him more than you'll ever know.

Yeah, I was with you, squinching up my nose, thinking "Oh my goodness, a homeless man in MY house, ew." But seriously, these people are someone's family, mom, dad, sister, or brother. And it could just as easily be one of us in that situation. Thank you for the reminder. People in any situation have feelings, too. And you never know where the Lord has a lesson waiting for you.

Elana said...

That was such a beautiful story...it brought tears to my eyes. What an incredible gesture!

Show Me Mama said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Great story!!
Thanks for sharing it with us.
I am already your follower :)

♥Cari♥ said...

What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing :)

Angel said...

Bless you for being Jesus to a stranger who needed it!!

Flufferwuffer said...

Wow, that's such a great story! I live in a small town and there aren't many homeless people around, but I know more than one person who would buy a homeless man a Happy Meal rather than giving them some money.

Thank you for sharing that awesome story!

I♥thesecrazykids said...

Thank you for helping him. You may have been the change in the beginning of a wonderful life. No one knows how bad things really can get. I've never been in that situation, but I've been in a hard situation. Last summer our home burnt down. We didn't have insurance, and lost everything. Thanks to the help of some family and friends, but mostly strangers we were able to start over. I never realized how important it is to help others before I was the one in need.

♥ helen said...

Wow - that is a wonderful story. We should all be as nice as you and your husband and the world would be better for everyone. Thanks for sharing.

dangerkitty said...

Wow. This post has left me teary eyed---not an easy thing to do considering I have a lump of coal for a heart. :-)

Blessings to you and yours, Glenda. It's people like you and your husband that make the world a better place.

Julia Smith said...

Jimmy was probably sent to you for two reasons - one, so you could give him the wonderful evening he had with your family, and two, so you could see your own dad from a new perspective. Amazing story, and that second picture of Jimmy reading to your son is a treasure.

Loren said...

Oh Glenda! Tears are rolling....what a beautiful blessing you and your family have been and yet I know you were blessed in return.

My father was an alcoholic as well and by the grace of God he was sober for the last 32 yrs of his life before cancer took him. I can only imagine what you and Star feel not knowing how your daddy's are and wanting to see them yet knowing in their condition it isn't an option. My heart goes out to both of you as well as my prayers. I know the LORD worked a mighty thing in you and your husband...

Bless you both! Love to you my friend

Heidi said...

What an amazing outreach and also a personal growth experience.

MessyMissy said...

What a riveting story. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us all to open our hearts. I'm now a follower coming from FMB! :-)

ECarter said...

It's so wonderful that you & your husband were so bold! My dad was an alcoholic as well. He passed away last year but God made sure my daddy knew Him before he passed. Keep praying for your dad Glenda, God will bless him!

Pinky Has a Brain said...

Does anyone have a tissue? This was such a beautiful story. Sometimes people forget that homeless people are people too and they all have a story. I'm so glad you and your husband opened your hearts and home to this man.

Melodie said...

Your husband is one of a kind. Even though my husband and I have worked with homeless people we have never invited one to our house before. I guess I've just always felt pretty shy about doing such a thing although it has crossed my mind. This was a very inspiring post. A wonderful way to end my night's blog reading.

Autumn Belle @ KDP said...

You and your husband are very nice people. The world is a better living place because of you. May your kindness be repaid with joy and happiness always.

Rachel said...

What an amazing and thought-provoking post! Well done for being brave and being so hospitable. You went the extra mile in offering Jimmy a bed for the night.

Icy BC said...

Bless you for doing a good deed!

SariJ said...

Glenda,
Great story. You and your husband sound like wonderful people. Your heart was really opened up that night. A lesson was learned on both sides. I wish Jimmy all the best. I hope he does sober up.
Thank you for sharing this moment with us. I hope we can all learn from your experience.

SmallWorld at Home said...

WOW. What a beautiful, amazing story. You are a brave woman of God married to a warrior!

Jingle said...

Thank you so much for doing this. And thank you so much for sharing it. You will be blessed.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you! I am glad that God softened your heart at the right time. This brought tears to my eyes. This is something MY mom would have done and did when she was living. I am glad you gained some knowledge from this Veteran. Veterans have a special place in my heart. Not only because I see them everyday But because WE have our freedom due to their bravery. They served our country and lets not forget them. I hope during this Memorial Weekend, everyone takes the time to pray for those veterans that have passed. Please pray for those veterans that are still with us and don't forget our Men and Women who are serving our Country right now. God will bless you for sharing your home and family with this man. You did a beautiful thing! Love you!

Anonymous said...

I hope Jimmy gets the help he needs. The VA has great programs to help Veterans that need this kind of help. I hope he is guided to his local VA to seek help.

Governor Jen said...

One of the most amazing posts I've read in quite a while. Good for you.

Pat said...

What a mighty testimony of God's grace to Jimmy through you. I am touched by this story. Wonderful post. I don't know that I could do what you did, but if my husband asked me if it was OK, I'd do it because I trust him and I trust God.

Dawn K. said...

What a moving and lovely story you have to tell. Thanks so much for sharing.

Dawn
www.thewayiseethings.typepad.com

Jb said...

Lessons come in all kinds of packages, don't they? You are very lucky to have been able to have this experience. It's something you will never forget.

Noelle said...

Oh what a beautiful story!!! My dad brought home strangers on more than one occasion...we all learned so much from those people! Thank you for sharing this.

Julie from Momspective said...

That was a wonderful story and you're wonderful people. I've had encounters with various types of homeless people. I actually rented the top floor of a house in Syracuse when I was younger and the 3 people that begged for money on the corner off the highway ramp OWNED the house across the street. My friend confronted him, he said they make about $100 a day on average. There's actually a union of some sort. This man was a genuine man in need. This is the type of man who needs to reach out for help and it's great that you were there for him!

MollyinMinn said...

This was an amazingly powerful story. Thank you for retelling it and retelling it with such honesty and emotion.

Elisa said...

You are so right. I always try to remember that MOST people are just simple, kind, lonely people. MOST people aren't crazy, psycho murderes! When I was a teenager I bought a wandering homeless man some lunch at an art fair. He just kept wandering and I kept seeing him so I thought he looked hungry. This was in Nebraska. He said he'd been walking from Colorado. No family, no home. I have a great respect for homeless people, because a lot of them are veterans.

anne maskell said...

What a wonderful story! You and your husband are amazing people to open your hearts and home to Jimmy. Very inspiring. I am visiting with toddler awesome, and I'm your newest follower!

Tracy said...

Wow, that is so touching. I have this huge lump in my throat. You, your husband and your family have huge hearts. There are not many people in the world like you.
Take care,
Tracy

Julia said...

Stopping by from Friday Blog Hop. What an amazingly beautiful post ♥ I am now following. Hope you will stop by my blog and follow when you get a chance :) Have a great weekend!

http://julia-livelovelaugh.blogspot.com/

Ann said...

WOW what a beautiful story. I have one of my own I would like to share with you. I have included the link below. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment. I pray you have a blessed week!

http://honoringtheking.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-2nd-chance-true-god-opportunity.html

bigguysmama said...

Thank you for sharing this story. It can be so hard to allow the Lord to work sometimes. Don't good things come about when we get out of the way?

~Mimi from the Round Up

Laura Grace said...

I know a lot of people with loving convictions but I have never met anyone who offered a homeless man a meal, shower and bed in their own homes. You and your family live your faith. Bless you.

april said...

I am just in tears reading this post. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have no other words but thank you. God bless your family, Jimmy & his family, as well.

Jennifer said...

tears are flowing. It took me quite a few years to learn how to follow my husband's lead. It sounds like after you said yes to your husband that you were all blessed by this encounter. I lost my Daddy this summer, and will pray for yours when I think of him now.

Jennifer said...

Wow! That's all I have to say!

I'm visiting your blog for the first time and was so incredibly touched by your writing today. God bless you and your family for taking him in. I hope that Jimmy does find the help that he needs and reconnects with his daughter.

God bless!