Thursday, 3 September 2009

Flip-flops and thieves.

We had a full house at the Resurrection House prayer service last Wednesday. “Full house” means ten people crammed into a very small chapel.

Having heard “never-ending” testimonies I often run a tight ship at these prayer services. The testimonies have often got quite preachy, and “preaching” is last on the list of needs for homeless people.

Nevertheless I try to be open to the zeitgeist, so last Wednesday we took time to listen to a homeless sister and a homeless brother.

She was probably in her sixties. Her face was worn and sad. Her expression was earnest. She talked about flip-flops.

She told us that many years ago she had a house in which to live, but she had very little money. Her only foot-wear was a pair of flip-flops. Lord, how she hated those inadequate flip-flops.

She went on to tell us of her amazement that in these days “everyone” wears flip-flops. Why, she wondered, would folks choose to wear the foot-wear which to her was a sign and reminder of poverty?

She added that “everyone looks at your shoes to judge who you are”. Then she told us that although she is now homeless she always tries to wear good shoes.

I thought that he was about 30 years of age. He is big and tall. He began to talk.

He told us that he is now 20 years old, and that he wants to make big changes in his life. He went on to tell us that for most of his life he had been “locked up”, but now he is ready for something new and better.

His hopes rest in enrollment in “Job Corps” (a Federal Government training programme). Then he added that on Tuesday his back-pack had been stolen, and with it all is I.D. and his Job Corps enrollment papers.

Even homeless people are subject to thieves.

Later in the morning I observed another volunteer as he yelled at this young man, because he was using the “wrong” entrance.

Right or wrong entrances seem to me to be moot when we care for homeless people.

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