Arnie’s been a member of our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program for almost 6 months and has done some focused work on his spiritual walk and recovery lifestyle.
While he’d be homeless if he left here today, it’s just not the same Arnie who walked through our doors those months back. He’s looking good, walking around with his head held high and his eyes are bright with hope these days.
Enthusiastic about a sober Thanksgiving with his family, on the cold, rainy Wednesday night before, Arnie went to where he would meet his ride. A homeless man walked up to him, asking for a cigarette and some money.
Arnie had cigarettes and gave him a couple. But living here and not working yet, Arnie didn’t have any money.
The guy was also having trouble keeping his pants up and Arnie did have an extra belt in his overnight bag which he offered to him. But the homeless guy said, “I don’t need a belt. I just need a drink and a joint and I’ll be fine.”
He told Arnie all his problems and the only other thing Arnie could think to do was share with him about Helping Up Mission – that he was homeless and lived here and that it would be a safe, dry and warm place for him, too.
But the wet, cold, homeless man wasn’t interested in that…just a drink and a joint! Ultimately, Arnie had to walk away – with lots of mixed emotions.
This guy really didn’t want help. He just wanted what he wanted!
This exchange was a moment of clarity for Arnie – and, hopefully, in the long-term, for his homeless friend, too. Never wanting to live, sound or look like that again and Arnie was grateful for all he had.
He took this encounter as a personal message from God this Thanksgiving eve. And it was still talking to him on Monday morning…when he shared it in class.