Street Pilgrimage Pt 6: The Trauma of Homelessness

While I rested alongside many other people challenged with homelessness at Grand Central Station, I saw a mentally ill woman who wore white makeup like a mad clown. She had bright red lips and crazy eye makeup. She talked to herself and gestured with her hands to no one. How did she end up that way and was there any hope of escape from the torment of her own mind? Sadly, the streets can drive a person to madness…After panhandling that morning in the falling snow, I headed over to a drop-in center to see if they would allow me to sleep there that night. A drop-in center is like a shelter, but with chairs to sleep in instead of beds. I thought, “Anything has to be better than sleeping on a moving subway train.” I was dead wrong. Read the full post >>>

Too Many Bad Days

"Too many bad days" said the former wall street businessman as he sat with his shoulders slumped, melted into that plastic folding chair, on the streets of NYC where he now makes his bed.

Too many bad days had left my friend of nearly 5 years in a void of nothingness that I had never seen in him before...

And this scares me.

The average life expectancy of someone dealing with homelessness is 47 years of age. 47! 
Compared to the rest of us that are expected to live to the age of 77, those among us that are lacking a home live an astonishing 30 years less!

Obviously, it's not just the home itself that leads to this large of an age gap. Read the full post>>>

Be Available

For me, this day is filled to the tip top of the cup with the expectation of all the good things that will happen as I go throughout the next 14 hours of my waking life.

The people that I will encounter, encourage, or at a minimum smile towards - which hopefully, in turn, will set off a life-giving smile inside of them as well.

The information that I will get to be a part of learning about, the relationships that I will deepen, the observations of the world that will continue to deepen who I am and how I process each day's happenings.

Like I said, good things. Hopeful things. Exciting things.

But, that's me.

Within all of that goodness, I am also very aware of the incredible hurt, pain, and weight that so many of my fellow people are waking up with (if they even were able to sleep at all under such a heaviness), the piles of baggage they are loading into their car or strapping to their back as they embark of the treachery of the point A to B, or C, or L of where this life drops them today. Read the full post>>>

Street Pilgrimage Pt 5: Cold City, Warm Hearts

As I panhandled, I had to keep brushing snow off of my sign so that people could read it. That caused my gloves to get wet which then started to freeze. By the 45-minute mark I was shaking with cold and my hands ached. The snow turned to sleet rain which got my jeans wet so I held my sign over my legs like a roof. I only made $2.00 and 50¢ in that hour. It was going to be a long day… Read the full post on Medium >>

Street Pilgrimage Pt 4: Code Blue

That night I squeezed into a space narrower than a coffin, trying to get some desperately needed sleep. I was glad to escape the frigid temperatures outside, but felt uneasy with the strangeness of my surroundings. I hoped that no one would steal my boots while I slept. Each winter, about 700 homeless people in America die from hypothermia. About 35 people freeze to death each year in New York City where I serve. This is beyond tragic. Read the full post on Medium >>

Street Pilgrimage Pt 3: Rude Awakening

A toothless, one-eyed man from the streets of New York City offered me his last gift card. My own self-centeredness was assaulted by the reckless kindness of this stranger. Who was this guy and why would he do this? I had found the person that I had been hunting for on my 7-day spiritual pilgrimage on the streets, and he had an elaborate disguise. My night “sleeping” on the E Train was brutal. I awoke very cold at 5:30am. I knew immediately that I needed to put on more layers of clothes. I pulled my head out from underneath my blanket to see a packed train car of commuters staring at me. What a strange feeling! I felt awkward and exposed. I had never been deprived of privacy like this before and it was very disconcerting. Read the full post on Medium >>>

Street Pilgrimage Pt 2: Night Train

It was one of the worst nights of “sleep” of my life. Bright lights glared. Intercom systems blasted messages announcing the next stop. Strangers moved around me constantly. Worst of all, every few minutes the subway train stopped and started all night, jarring me out of any hope for a deep sleep. This is how I ended up trying to find rest on a restless E-Train. A week before I went to live on the streets of New York City during my spiritual pilgrimage, I had come across a friend of mine named June in Penn Station. It was the month of March which was still bitter cold. Winter was holding on as long as it could. Read the full post on Medium >>>

30 Years Homeless.

30 years homeless.

“I’m starting to lose hope.”

His carts (all his belongings) were stolen. Now his glasses. He can barely see, his hearing is just as bad.

He’s lost at least 50lbs - I didn’t even recognize him when he walked up.

But, what’s the point?

Obviously he IS hopeless, if he hasn’t fixed himself in 30 years, then there’s no point in us wasting time resources, right??

Now, that all would be completely true if my or our goal at @nyc_relief was to fix him - but thankfully(!!!!) our goal is not to fix him, but to show up and love him right where he is. Read the full post >>>