Guess who spent the weekend with us?
Last week, God put it on my heart to invite Lee over to relax, to feel normal, to be involved in family life…to just “be,” so on Saturday, after Nathan and Kyle’s flag football game, I drove to Balboa Park to pick him up. I was to meet him at our usual spot, where we hang out during lunch times, and when I drove up, he was sitting there waiting, already showered.
It was very important for Lee to shower BEFORE he met the kids. He said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” On Saturday morning, a church (I think) brought mobile showers for the homeless. Those who need it stand in line for a ticket, and then stand in line for a shower. They only have fifteen minutes for a shower time, which was not a lot of time. Lee said when you’re old like him and dirty like him, you need more time than that. Another downfall…cold water, but for Lee, cold water was better than no water. So, when I showed up, he was clean.
He really doesn’t like being dirty, so when people give him money, he saves it up for new clothes. He believes it’s easier to buy new t shirts and underwear than to keep them clean, so for those of you who met him, he was wearing the only shirts he has right now, and he loved meeting everyone.
On Saturday, he hung out on my couch, while I worked on flags. He also watched a movie: Cars 2. He loves cars, and while we were watching that movie, he would name off different cars, say why they were special, what kind of motor they had, etc. He was loving it. Later in the day, I took him to Ramona for worship.
I wanted him to hear Rey and Sierra sing, so we went to Ramona Vineyard Church, where they were leading worship. It was funny: people recognized him from my posts. I had mentioned he was on FB but didn’t go into it much. He knows now. He couldn’t believe how many people already knew him, and he appreciated it, and his time with God there was amazing!
He cried. I don’t think he’s ever felt so close to God in all his life. He says, “Thank you” to whoever put the tissue box at his feet. He said it felt so good to release stuff. He also liked the flags. On the car ride home, he said, “Laura Lee, I thank you for bringing me tonight. In the park, people are so dark. They just “get” on me, and it was really bringing me down. I needed this.”” I love how Jesus knows EXACTLY what we need.
When we got home, we shared some leftovers, ate some candy, and watched a movie with Carolyn. Then, for the first time in a long time, he slept on a couch.
Yesterday, as we were getting ready to go to a barbecue, he thought he was getting ready to go back to the park. I said, “No way! You’re coming with us.” He figured he wasn’t included. And then, it dawned on me: eventually, I have to take him BACK to the park. How am I supposed to do that?! The thought of it caused both me and Carolyn to cry, so we stopped thinking about it and went on with our day.
As soon as we stepped out of the car at the park, he smelled grilled food and mentioned how long it had been since he smelled (or ate) grilled food like that. I introduced him to more people who already knew him, and we all sat down near, and he enjoyed a part of the kids that not many people are blessed with.
He thinks the kids are amazing: they way they love one another, the way they joke around, interact. He was in awe and so appreciative to be around them. Katie mentioned how neat Lee was and said if we had a third bedroom, we could help him out. (I love that.) He really enjoyed being part of the family.
Later, we went to San Marcos for their street fair. There were a couple old cars there, and he loved that. If anyone looked at him, they wouldn’t think he was homeless. On the way back, he said, “Laura Lee, I’ve seen more of Southern California in these two days than I have in the two years I’ve been here.” He ended up staying for dinner and spending one more night.
Right now, I hear him breathing on the couch. Tonight, he’ll be breathing on a concrete bench by the museums. There has to be a way. If you are reading this, pray…pray that he has a place to call home someday. And pray for me because I’ll have to drop him back off at the park before work, and my heart already feels it. [sigh]