Yesterday in the park, we brought worship and conversation to Lee. As we approached the meeting place, Christine (my friend from work) and I noticed that only Lee was there. I had brought three chairs, so even if no one else showed up, we would be able to site and chat with him during the whole lunch hour. We were excited!
As we grew closer to him, I noticed his “luggage” was nowhere in sight, so again, he had his friend watch it, so he could have a “normal” afternoon of worship. We set up the chairs in the shade and just enjoyed the breeze. Normally, Lee sits in the sun because most of the places to sit in Balboa Park are in the sun. If he decides to sit on the ground in the shade, it’s very hard for him to get back up. I had once asked him if he’d like a folding chair to carry on his arm, but he said it would be too awkward. Yesterday, as he sat, he said it felt very nice to sit on something so comfortable, and then, Anna showed up with her guitar.
As soon as we encountered Anna, Anita walked up, so Lee was surrounded with four women. It was a great time! Anna played beautiful songs, and we all chatted and learned more about him. He has a daughter and two grandchildren. His daughter was raised in Canada, so a bond was never made, and any connection was lost when he became homeless. He fought in Vietnam but doesn’t want to be thanked. He wants those who lost their lives and never made it back to be thanked. He used to go to church but doesn’t agree with it. He used to collect stamps but really loved collecting coins. He is such an interesting man, and the girls loved him, but time flew by quick, and it was time to go.
As we were folding up the chairs, I helped Lee. I asked him, “Still think it would be too awkward to carry?” He said, “Oh, I can handle anything.” I said, “Would you like this chair?” He said that someone once told him that to deny something offered him would block off the blessing of giving for that person. I said, “You better not block off my blessing!” He chuckled and took the chair. He can now sit in the shade wherever he wants.
Part of the time, Anita roamed around to pray for people and had an amazing encounter with a young man who had once had cancer, fought it, and won. On his arm (in symbols or another language) was the saying “Second Chance.” The neat part about that was that Anna sang a song about second chances. It was very cool!
Lee is one among many. I will never focus on the many I am unable to touch but will focus on the one in front of me. I believe that Lee has a lot more life left to live, and I believe that God is loving him into wholeness. One thing to pray for him about: his grandfather passed away when he was eighteen, and because they were so close, it still hurts him today. That’s a lot of years of hurting. Life is worth living. Love is worth giving. Friends are worth having.