Please Know...

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.


Friday, June 19, 2020

Don't Fall Short of Your Chance to Choose Detox and Life.

A former resident of the streets of Kensington told me the following as they were in the midst of their street experience.  I didn't really understand what they meant until recently.

Here is a simplified version of what I learned that day…

Life as a person in the grips of addiction is as follows:

Make money. Get high.
Make money. Get high.
Make money. Get high.

Make money. Get high.
Make money. Get high.

Die.


OR

Make money. Get high.
Make money. Get high.
Make money. Get high.

Make money. Get high.
Make money. Get high.
Make money. Get high.

Choose Detox and Life.


Nobody chooses to Die.

There's one choice that you have the chance to choose.

Choose Detox and life…

Did you notice that in the example above, there are five lines before "Die." and six lines before "Choose Detox and Life."?  Don't (literally) fall short of your chance to choose detox and life.


"Die?  That won't happen to me." - you've told me...  Did your friend who died wake up that morning saying "Today is the day I'm going to die."  No. Of course not.  Now is your chance to choose detox and life.



The former street resident who taught me this eventually chose Detox and Life.  They (avoiding the he/she pronoun to add anonymity) are recently engaged and moving toward marriage.

Choose Detox and Life...


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

For as much as I want to know your pain, I never will.

Having never been in the vices of any particular substance, there is no way for me to fully understand in a first hand kind of way what it's like to be so viced.  Over these past four years of visiting the people of Kensington, I've developed a fairly decent second hand intellectual understanding of what it's like to be dope sick, desperate, and deprived of dignity.  Short of deliberately starting to use substances and becoming homeless and Medicaid dependant, I will never know firsthand what it's like.  My current level of understanding is where I will stay.  And that seems to be okay with my friends who do understand in that first hand kind of way.

********** 

Dear Friends who live on the sidewalks of Kensington, 

For as much as I want to know your pain, I never will.  I can know you have outrageous levels of pain in your soul as you recall 

  • that uncle and/or biological father who did what he did to you when you were young.
  • that family tragedy that left you with none of them.
  • those promising days of sports success that ended in injury and a prescription that led you to the underside of a bridge 

For as much as I want to know your pain, I never will.  I can know you have outrageous levels of pain in your soul as you recall 

  • the registered nurse who told you to get out of her emergency room that day you overdosed and managed to be saved by a bystander's Narcan.
  • the stranger who threw things and savage words at you as you sat on the sidewalk.
  • the officer who demanded you leave your sidewalk address where you've lived since your last sidewalk eviction. 

For as much as I want to know your pain, I never will.  I can know you have outrageous levels of pain in your soul as you seek 

  • healing in the midst of entrapment in the barbaric Medicaid system of health care reimbursement.

As if all of that - and so much more - is not bad enough, For as much as I want to know your pain, I never will.  I can know you have outrageous levels of pain and anxiety in your soul as you now experience 

  • Corona Virus and an impossible-at-street-level requirement of isolation and social distancing and wondering who will die from it on top of who will die from overdose. 

For as much as I want to know your pain, I never will.  As the icing on your slice of Cyanide cake of all of the agonies mentioned and not mentioned above, I can know you have staggering, mind-blowing, outrageous levels of pain in your soul as you now experience for reasons that go far beyond discussion in this blog 

  • Looting and shooting and
  • barbequed buildings spreading their ash on that spot of cement from which you've been not yet evicted and you are stuck to call home. 

For as much as I want to know your pain, I never will.  

For as much as I will never know of your pain, this much I do know first hand 

  • You are loved with a love that far exceeds any and all of the agonies mentioned and not mentioned above.  

To tell you "Jesus loves you." may seem an understandably ridiculous statement from your vantage point.  

I can choose to know firsthand the agonies that come with substance use by trying a substance.  All I need to do is to ask you for my first sample. 

You can choose to know firsthand, the love of Jesus, the love that comes with following in Faith.  All you need to do is ask Him for your first sample. 

I do pray that people who know firsthand the outrageous levels of love in their soul from Jesus will choose to walk alongside you as you know firsthand the outrageous agonies of your soul. 

Of the two choosings, Jesus WILL WIN…  

Read this absolute promise: 

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord (Jesus).

“They are plans for good and not for disaster,

to give you a future and a hope. 

Jeremiah 29:11  (NLT)