This blog is my public diary of experiences that I've had as I become increasingly involved in the area of Kensington, Pa. I am including experiences that I am having as I sit down, one on one, with homeless people who are dealing with Substance Use Disorder.
All Names have been changed and, occasionally, I share a story using the opposite pronoun (he/she him/her), as an additional way to assure privacy.
As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.
Throughout this blog you are now seeing advertising. I need to provide this so as to keep going financially with this ministry. If you see something that is inappropriate to this site, please let me know - maybe get a screen shot of it for me. I do get credit for any "click" that you might make on any of the ads. If you're bored some night and want to help me raise some needed cash, visit my site and click away to your heart's content....
Since becoming involved with the homeless and addicted men and women of Kensington, I've seen two people, one man and one woman cry in utter unparalleled agony of their situation.
The first time I witnessed this, it was a man about 40 years old. He was sitting on a box at the corner of Aramingo and York. He was sobbing uncontrollably. His whole body was heaving not in the physical sickness of his addiction but with the emotional and spiritual trauma in his soul. I asked him what was wrong and he looked at me and said this:
"My Mother came and visited me here on the street yesterday.
She balled me out for wasting my life in my addiction."
I spoke with him briefly but words seemed to run off him like water off a duck's back. He was inconsolable in that moment. I didn't see him for maybe a week until there he was, at the same corner asking drivers for change. He brightened up when he saw me and said that he'd found a job and was starting in about three days. He just needed to be on the street until his first paycheck. About a month later, I was sitting in my car in a Rite Aid parking lot on the north end of Aramingo Avenue when this man, with a smile on his face, was riding a bicycle, seemingly to or from his work place. I've not seen him since and simply pray that life is working out and that he is allowing his heart to beat again.
On June 17th, I toured "The Tracks" with several people from Urban Hope. At the end of that tour, I witnessed something in real time that my protected life had never seen before. About a hundred feet from me, I saw a young woman injecting herself with heroin. My heart hurt for her as I thought that she is someone's daughter.
In the minutes that followed, this young woman had come close to our group and I spoke with her about how much my heart hurt in watching her do that. She became very embarrassed, apologized and said that she hates doing this and wants to stop but can't. Before our time was done that day, she, a man she was with and I prayed together for her healing that she claimed to want.
I didn't see her for about a month until she resurfaced last week under a railroad bridge in the community that I've recently written about. Again, she emphatically stated to me that she wants out of this lifestyle. She asked me if she could borrow my cell phone to call her dad. She sat in the back seat of my van where she had some degree of privacy from the other members of her community. The agony in her soul, just like the man weeks earlier, poured out in her tears that flowed down her cheeks. At one point, she was screaming at her dad, not in anger at him but with anger at herself.
After that call, we developed a plan for her to go to detox. That plan did not work out as I had hoped. In a follow-up conversation with this young woman two days ago, she continued to emphasize her desire to get cleaned up from her drugs and have a better life.
It has now been about five days since she spoke to her father on my phone. I've had the privilege of texting and talking with him as well. It is obvious that this man loves his daughter. He prays for God's protection and healing in her life just as I did with her weeks earlier.
The love of a mother for her son lost in addiction...
The love of a father for his daughter lost in addiction...
The former found healing.
The latter is still searching
and so close to finding.
As I type this, it is Saturday morning. I will be under that railroad bridge visiting with this community of men, women and at least one fetal child in a few hours. I pray, and I ask you to pray, that I will find this young lady. If I do, we will talk for a bit and I will give her a sheet of paper with the following lyrics. Her new future, like the thousands of other human beings trapped in addiction, is one small decision and one giant dose of God enhanced determination away from reality.
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