The guy I met in Philadelphia that really opened up to me was Jerry. He was such an awesome, open guy! He hasn't been homeless very long, less than two years. The catalyst for his homelessness was when his wife of over thirty years died. He talked about her a lot. You could tell how much he really loved her and missed her. I think that happening gave him a greater appreciation for life and the desire to never take anything for granted. He was telling me about some of his future plans and said, "I try to live big. Why not? What else are ya gonna do?"
I met another guy that I talked to for a long time in Love Park, but he wasn't homeless. He was actually a student in Philly, and he really loved science. He talked about his atheist beliefs and that lead to us talking about God- him respectfully explaining why He doesn't believe and me respectfully saying how much I love God. I actually got to share my testimony with him, which was cool! He had a scientific response to explain anything I said or have seen or experienced (a lot of the things I had never heard anything like it before), but it was great how the conversation had no hostility at all. It wasn't an angry debate, he just talked about why he doesn't believe and I talked about why I can't not. One thing that made me laugh was how every scientific explanation he gave just solidified my belief in God. Reasoning that was attempting to show the flaw in what I believe just made me believe Him all the more. God is so beyond scientific explanation and that just makes me happy. It was so cool the way God placed him along my path and prompted him to start a conversation with me in the most random way. Which happens to me a lot haha.
This adventure with God has just been so much more than I could have imagined, when it go as expected and when it doesn't.
On this trip, Holy Spirit has often asked me questions. He often asks me if I can find Him here. In a sitting area in the middle of a bustling city, under a bridge inhabited by people who are incapable of interacting with anyone other than themselves, in my car alone on a ten hour road trip: I hear that sweet, familiar voice ask, "Can you find me here?" And I always reply, "Yes, Lord."
Another question He often asks is, "Can you find joy in this?" In the middle of the mundane, repetitive routine of making fifty sandwiches a night, when I'm awoken by the crying of the baby of my host family at 5 am or earlier, when I'm walking alone in my baggy, disheveled going out attire weighed down by the bags of supplies surrounded by well polished social or economic ladder climbers, my sweet friend with His still, small voice leans in and asks me, "Can you find joy in this?" And my reply is always, "Yes, Lord."
When He whispers those questions in my ear, I can't help but smile. Because His questions are really reminders. He reminds me that yes, I can find Him here, wherever "here" happens to be at the moment. Because He is always with me, even in the darkest of places. And yes, I can find joy in this, whatever this present experience is. Because He is always right by my side experiencing it with me. Joy Himself never leaves my side. And really He's more than by my side, He's inside me, inhabiting my heart.
So whenever my precious friend sweetly whispers reminders of His faithful, constant presence in my life disguised as questions, my response, by grace, remains as faithful as His presence, "Yes, Lord." Yes, Lord.