As I was driving recently, I stopped at the light on NE Halsey and 102nd. On my left was a man holding a sign that read “Insult me for $1.00.”
That man, Matt* had been a resident in our men’s New Life recovery program at one time. I recognized him and made eye contact from across three lanes of traffic. I smiled instantly, glad to see him.
Matt looked as though he recognized me as well. He repeatedly made eye contact with me, but quickly looked away each time. Eventually, he held his sign up so that it blocked everything but his eyes, his hat hiding the rest of his head.
Once more, Matt made contact with his eyes peering behind the sign. It was as if he was ashamed to be seen, but desperately wanted to make the connection. I wished I was closer so we could talk. The light turned green. Matt looked away. I drove off.
The moment reminded me of the challenging work we do with people who are deeply hurting. Matt is just one of many people who are probably more used to insults than affection.
We don’t know what that moment meant to Matt. But pray that he knows he is loved and welcome inside our doors.
There are many reasons men, women and children become homeless. The common thread in them all is a heart that is troubled and hurting. A compassionate, personal connection can often lead them to a way home.
Thanks for your support that helps us give something more than just a hand out. You help us build relationships that offer new life.
*Name has been changed.