It wasn’t supposed to be this way

Posted by on Jul 25, 2011 in Pastor's Blog, Recent News | 0 comments

The Few and the Proud

It was another one of those hot summer days in Boise.  It must have been at least a 100 degrees out.  We all stood behind the table to feed our homeless friends in the park as this young man came up to the table.  Early 20’s, fit and clean cut he stood there for a moment and watched us feed the others.  After the line cleared up a bit he stepped up to the table.

“Why do you all do this?” he said.  We all looked at him not really understanding what he was asking and Denie said something like “To take care of our friends.”  He went on to continue to ask the same question about why were we there.  One of us asked him why do you ask.  He explained to us that he was from Detroit and had never seen anything like this work we were doing.  That there were always strings attached to the service he was seeing us give away so freely.

Then the tears started to well up in his eyes as he told us he had been out of the service almost a year.  “I am a marine, and I have served my country in war.” “Now I am standing in front of a table to feed homeless people.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way!”  My heart was broken as I watched him tell us his story, feeling as if the final bit of personal pride he had left was being stripped away.  He was hungry and even refused to eat at first.  It was as if that would be an admission that he had totally failed to hold the code.  I grew up with a marine dad, I knew how hard it was for this young man to even admit to himself that he needed help.

We all took turns letting him know that everyone was welcome to eat.  I looked him in the eye and said let us serve you and know that we are grateful for your service to us and to this country.  He bowed his head and got in line as all of us sighed in relief and fought away the tears.  He kept saying I can’t believe that people like you exist and are willing to help with no strings attached.

He took his food and thanked everyone for being there as he walked away to enjoy his meal.  One more served to know that someone cares.  One more helped to know they matter.  And yes “It wasn’t supposed to be this way!”  A young man or woman coming out of the service into a depressed economy wasn’t supposed to happen.  The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans says that at any given night there are over 107,000 homeless veterans.  Remember them the next time you pray, for we see many every weekend.

How was it supposed to be?  Jesus tells us to love and take care of one another.  Each of us to do what we can do.  What will you do?  I for one will continue to help be one of those standing with them and telling them that they do matter and we are grateful for all their sacrifice.  To be in service to them and look them in the eyes with love and caring, not just behind some quote shared on Facebook on the next national holiday!  It is time to be a follower of Christ and take care of each and everyone, to do what we can no matter how small it is.

Be blessed and be a blessing to someone today.

Rick

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