They will drive you crazy.
Because my house seems small
everyday some days. Because us eight who live here? We really live here. Because I’m compulsive about my house being clean (WHY?!) Because my kids are probably bickering again. Because one kid spilled a smoothie last night, another one did today. Because that joke one kiddo told me for the millionth time really wasn’t that funny but you have to laugh. again. Because five times they tried to come in while I was taking my allotted two minute shower. Because the snow makes my crazy night job incredibly scary and hard. Because boys are stinky and girls are always making something messy. Because of all these things and countless more reasons… I’m sure there’s something at the store I could buy today that would make it all more simple. A tote perhaps to put all the mess in? A new shampoo to handle the stink? A book I could buy that would solve this problem I have- maybe a nice glass of wine and a quiet dinner. Because after all. I see all of you and you all seem to have it all together. Right?
Paul and Silas sang while in prison. I complain in the Wal-Mart line. In the Wal-Mart line! The place I drive my CAR to, buy a bunch of things I don’t need, and then complain about the line. Or, if I don’t let the line seal my joy I let the long red light in traffic steal my joy.
When these moments come, which they do so often… me being human and all. I go back to a story. Stories, always. Stories are what make us. Mold us. Shape us.
The amazing truth? Every homeless person or hard up person I have come in contact with is happy. Once you start to talk with them anyway- always. They laugh through toothless smiles about some great story. What do they have that I don’t?
Several years back while visiting home; the town we actually LIVE in now (c-r-a-z-y)… we met a man sitting on the ground at the local convenient store. For so many reasons, you can only imagine, you could tell he didn’t “belong”. So, we offered him a hand. And of course, he did what all of of those stinkin’ (pun not intended) homeless people do to us- he changed us.
“Oh wonderful God, you have sent us an Angel. Floyd is his name. He came to us as a homeless man from Chelsea, Oklahoma. Full of love and joy. He has now gone but I pray we will never forget him. While we were visiting home last weekend, Daniel saw him sitting outside the convince store; no sign, no bags, just sitting. He offered him a ride. Then after hearing his story offered him our garage to sleep in. He was so happy! So ready to go find work, maybe go settle down, start a family. But there was no way Floyd could go find a job, or even start a family on his own without help. Floyd was slow, but he had something special. A gift. Joy.
Sweet Floyd. We didn’t know what we were going to do, or how we were going to be able to tell him he couldn’t work or probably “settle down” here. His family was back in Oklahoma. Not the city we found him in, but another one far from it. On our way to church today I asked him if he would want to go back home by way of bus. Oh, man! Was he ever EXCITED! He had just left a boarding house and had not been home for years.
Well, we bought him a ticket. Alli was just so happy “Flo” (that is what she called him. Being only four, she couldn’t say or remember Floyd) was here and she was very sad to see him go. In just a few short days he had become family. He would crank up the music loud and just sing his heart out to the “good ‘ol oldies” He ate all our meals with us. He always said “thank you”, “I appreciate it”, and always said… “You’re so kind.” He was such a thankful person.
Last night, Daniel went out to check on him. After several minutes, I thought I’d walk out across the yard to check on the two of them. You know, thinking maybe the toothless, homeless man, fresh from a shower in our home– might have killed Daniel and left him for dead. Hey, you never know. But then I heard it. My man. Reading to Floyd. He was Reading the sweet words of Apostle Paul.
Apostle Paul. The man whose life was changed as he sat in a strangers home. Floyd who couldn’t read a word was letting the sweet words seep deep into his rough, dark skin. Seeds being planted.
Floyd is happy to be going home. Daniel took him tonight to the Greyhound stop. His bus leaves out at 1:15 am but he’s been asking the time since 7:30. We watched a movie tonight, “Bruce Lee”. Man, was Floyd excited! He loved it. He said it reminded him of going to the movies when he was just a boy. I thought, a boy? You mean when life was normal. When he had a mom, a dad, sisters and brothers. When he played in the yard like our kids? Because I’m sure he didn’t plan to grow up and be a homeless man. Just like my kids don’t. He kept complementing our stuff. Our house, our beat up cars, our dry, dusty, rocky yard. Our church with hard pews and slow hymn songs and our family. And God, most of those things? I’m unhappy with or sometimes even embarrassed. And that Bruce Lee movie? I’ve hated that VHS since the moment I married that man of mine and it came with him.
Daniel and I cried tonight after Floyd left. We thought, “God, when were we ever as happy as Floyd was? When were we ever happy having nothing while someone else seems to have everything? Come to think of it, when did we ever have nothing?” He never said one time: Man, I wish I had a house and a yard. I wish I had this Bruce Lee movie, this place to sleep, this shower, this place called home. He had nothing, yet he never compared his stuff to ours. No, he took joy in everything– for us. He NEVER stopped smiling, even though he had no teeth. He just wanted to sleep in our garage.
Lord, Thank you. Bless Floyd. He can’t read the promises in your word God, send him someone to be the word for him. And thank you for sending him to us.
At the time we lived in a 900 sq foot house with two VERY small bedrooms, one living room, and a kitchen. We dreamed of bigger living. We had moved from our American Dream life, complete with white picket fence and all, for Daniel to go to bible college and thought we were making such a sacrifice. Luckily, we had an old detached garage with electricity that Floyd was able to live in for such a short time. But it would not have been long before he would have shared our home if he had stayed.
You see, if I had this book or that curriculum- I’d be a better homeschool mom. If I had a bigger house, I’d be a better wife, friend, or host. If I had this job or he did this different, THEN I would be pleased. If I had this type of floor, the smoothie wouldn’t stain the carpet- if I had this type of vehicle, my kids wouldn’t argue over getting in and out. If I only…
If I only had a homeless person for every day of the week, huh? Maybe my life would then be truly different.
Good thing Jesus was homeless. And he’s mine.
and over and over and over again I just need to set my mind on that sweet, sweet Jesus.
Because the house will never be big enough, the smoothies will spill again tomorrow; and someone will always have something better than me.
But that Jesus of mine? He will always be the life giver of true joy. Which is never found in things, rather life being lived.
May we become crazy! As crazy as a homeless person. (because that Jesus is yours too!)
“Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace, and your soul in the joy of Christ”. ~ Thomas Merton
Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there
= / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that.