Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
I have often commented that we have very few success stories from the people we work with out on the street. This is one!
I met Todd several years ago under the 640 bridge. He and I clicked for some reason, and every week he sought me out. Unlike a lot of the people who come down there for a free meal, he worked. He often came in his work clothes. I do know that one place he worked was at the University of Tennessee in maintenance. He also worked some in construction. I don't know for sure, but I suspect he got the construction jobs by standing outside Home Depot or Lowes and waiting for contractors to hire him.
(Notice I said he was standing outside a lumber company waiting to be hired...not on the street corner at a red light with his hand out.)
I hadn't seen Todd in awhile....over a year at least. This past Wednesday night, he came up to me all smiles! After hugging me, he said, "I have something to show you!" He pulled out his wallet and showed me his driver's license! Then he said "I also bought a car!", and he pointed it out sitting across the lot where we serve food.
I asked if he still had his apartment (the last time I saw him he had moved into an apartment.) He said, "No...I have a house!" I then sent him over to show off his license to Tommy, John boy, Tommy Halcomb and Rod.
He has a steady job now and is working every day.
Stories like this give me hope in a world that needs hope right now. I see so many sad and weary faces under the bridge that when I run across someone like Todd, I realize that no one is hopeless and when I get discouraged thinking I have no success stories, I think of Todd.
It was one of those dreams that a person often has just before waking.
I was in New York City. A group of friends were with me. These friends were new to the city and didn't know their way around. We got onto a train and were standing in the aisle waiting for the train to leave the station.
I looked out the window and one of the girls who was in our party was standing on the platform looking scared! I started banging on the window and yelling to her "Get on the train! Get on the train." Just then I looked and the conductor had his head out looking down the track. (The conductors do that on the trains in NY to be sure all is clear before shutting the doors.) I started yelling at him "tell her to get on the train."
He either didn't hear me or ignored me and he shut the doors. The train left the station and I turned to the rest of the people with me and said "we'll get off at the next station and go back and get her." But...they all looked at me sadly and somehow I knew that we couldn't go back.
I interpreted this dream immediately. I may be wrong but I don't think so. What do you think?
It was a cool night under the bridge. Even though it was the first of August, there was a hint of fall in the air. It was chilly enough that I wore a long sleeved shirt.
They forgot to pack dessert at the warehouse, so we gave out MRE's instead.. (Army's Meals Ready To Eat.) Each of the meals has a dessert, and the people who live under the bridge, love dessert!
I was by myself this night, so Tommy stood with me to pass out the MRE's. We love to interact with the people who come through the line and we always get a story. This night was no exception.
He was tall and very thin. His eyes were bloodshot and he looked as if most of the sadness of the world had settled on his shoulders. He asked if he could have two meals. We said yes. Then he said, "all I do is walk walk walk.....and look......then, instead of saying the word "up", he pointed to the sky. We knew he meant that he looked toward heaven and Jesus.
I came away, as I always do, having been ministered to, rather than ministering. All day I have thought about that man.
I walked a lot at church camp last week. I looked down to keep from stumbling. I looked to see how much further I had to climb to get to the top of the hill. I looked at my watch to see how long I had been walking, and I huffed and I puffed.....but
Did I look up? Did I look toward heaven? Did I look toward Jesus?