The small woman sitting on the grass thanked me for the cold/sniffle medicine that I’d dug out from my trunk. She laughed with her other homeless friends who sat in a circle eating from the popcorn can I’d also found in my car.
She gazed up at me. “I heard you call yourself Crazy Pam. Are you really crazy? You know, if you are, I can help you get a check.”
I tapped her on the shoulder, chuckling. “No, I actually do work. I get a check. I’m simply crazy for the Lord.”
She squinted, “Are you sure?”
“Am I sure I have a job? Or sure, I’m crazy?”
“Both, I guess.”
“Yes, I’m sure. Hey, do you know why I tell folks I’m crazy?”
She crossed her legs, clutching her medicine, and coughing. “No. Why?”
“Well, if you’re crazy, then no one bothers a crazy person.”
A man on the grass beside her, added, “We’re all a little crazy. And you don’t leave us alone. You like us.”
I reached for his shoulder, squeezing it. “I do love you guys.”
A new friend who was also staying at the shelter had stepped up next to me. “I’m crazy about Jesus, too. I’m from Hot Springs, Arkansas. I can’t believe I’m so far from home.”
I moved next to her. “I was born in Hot Springs. I lived there until I was nine.”
She made her arms move like she was steering a car. “I know every street in that city. I drove a taxi for years and years.”
I asked her, “So what brings you here?”
“I’ve hit a hard patch. I’m attending a celebrate recovery class though, and I know God is going to be with me as I see what’s next.”
I touched her arm. “May the Lord reveal this to you as He protects and guides you.” I hugged her like we’d known each other for years.
She hugged me back.
Another friend sat on the brick wall and he called to me, “I remember you. You gave me a sleeping bag once.”
I moved to chat with him, handing him a scripture verse, a card with one of my favorites about being saved through faith in Christ. We chatted about choices, our journey, about being friends. I reminded him to read the card, which he did right then, and we talked about its meaning.
See, the weather was warm Tuesday night, and folks gathered outside after their supper at the Salvation Army. Some sat eating popcorn. A few ate the Christmas candy I’d brought, old-fashioned hard candy, while the goodie bags from my trunk made their way into the hands of those laughing, as my friend Holly handed them out.
But what you might have missed if you’d driven by was the man on the grass in our midst. The one passed out from using drugs. The one the ambulance had come for twice already in one day. The one sleeping it off.
He was curled up on his side, and I checked to see if he was breathing. His deep and hard inhales and exhales gave off a lumbering sound from his chest. I silently prayed for his deliverance. For Him to find life in Christ, to live through His choices now, so that Christ might call to his heart.
The young man with the crinkly hair appeared like anybody’s son. But this man’s addiction, (from what I’m told) is causing him not to remember his days, and is keeping him in bondage.
He is somebody’s child and it breaks my heart to witness the despair, because when he did get up, he stumbled into the street like a tree swaying in the wind. He was unaware. Foggy. In danger of falling to the ground.
One of my friends would rush to his side, to make sure he didn’t fall on the asphalt face first. The man would go inside the building across the street, and not return before I left.
I placed a couple of goodie bags beside his coat and bag on the ground, for later. But it was the saving power of Christ I prayed for, that the Savior would saturate his soul with a call to live a saved and redeemed life.
This is a driving force for me, and I’m compelled to drive for the Lord to the streets like a taxi and jump from the car, and find lonely souls to love on for Him. All around us, there are folks who are lost and who are alone, who need Christ, who need redemption, who need salvation. Who need encouragement. Who need a friend!
Popcorn is tasty. Candy, too. But only Jesus can satisfy the soul!