I stood beside him and his voice quivered, and he shared his struggle. “I’m not sure I can keep doing this. I just need to know she’s going to be ok.” He told me of something breaking his heart, of his deepest concerns, and I felt like he was unfolding burdens he’d carried like weights.
I touched my homeless friend on the arm, as he leaned on his cane. “You’re shaking. Do you need to sit down?”
“No, I’ll lean on this pillar. My nerves are shot. It’s a hard morning. I wasn’t sure I could get out of my tent and get here.”
“I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how hard that must be, but I’m thankful for you. Thankful you pushed past what’s hurting, and that you came anyway.”
He turned to me, “Thankful for me?”
“Sure, do you know how many people get up for church and live in a house and have running water; and then because they’re tired they just take the day off and not attend church?”
“I’ve never thought about it.”
Sighing, I searched for words to help my friend, “I’ve been that person. I’ve had those long work weeks and thought a day off was in order. And I’ve stayed home from church and I didn’t have any good reason. I was simply selfish.”
“I’m pretty selfish. I didn’t want to come, but knew I should.”
“And you did …”
“I’m barely here.”
“Can I pray with you, that your struggles come with answers and that you’ll hear from the Lord through Pastor Cody’s message?”
“Sure, I need to hear something.”
After we prayed, I felt my friend lean against my arm, his shaking still in full swing, and his tears falling like a river.
I asked, “Are you sure you don’t need a chair?”
“No, I don’t need a chair. I needed to be right here so you could pray with me.”
We would linger and talk, and he would smile at one point, and he would look me in the eyes. His tears welled up again, as he gave me a glance that made me feel like he saw me too, like he knew I have been walking through my own struggles. He asked, “So are you ok?”
I nodded, “I am now. I’m with you. And all is well.”
I still weep when I think of this moment from this morning at Church under the Bridge.
And I weep at how sad and broken, and at how beautiful and loving the world under a bridge with my homeless friends becomes on any given weekend.
We see struggles and victories. We see growth! And we see lives changed. We also see broken pieces! And we see tragedy! And yet, we come together to encourage and lift each other up! To share Jesus!
For we are family and friends. We are a community serving Christ, where the good news is shared at every turn!
Where leaning on a friend is EXACTLY what I needed today too, and it came from a shaking and quivering friend by a pillar by the creek! Under a bridge!