Lunch with my Friend Grady

A few months ago I posted a blog about Grady. I wondered where he was since I had not seen him in over a year. Then about a month ago I saw him “working” on a new street corner. Grady, you see, is homeless.

This week, I drove through that intersection around lunchtime hoping to find Grady. Sure enough he was on his corner holding a sign that read, “Even 25 cents will help.”

I drove up to the corner, rolled down my window and called out to Grady. When he recognized me, he came over to my truck. I asked him if he had eaten yet. When he replied that no he hadn’t. I asked him if he wanted to go grab a bite or did he want to keep working his corner.

I didn’t know if he would want to go get lunch or not since he views his time on the corner asking for money as work. Also, him leaving meant that someone else most likely would take his place on the corner. And they did.

He said grabbing some lunch sounded good, so he ran back to get his backpack and drink. I pulled up to the light which turned green. By the time Grady got in my truck it had turned red. Thankfully no one behind me seemed to mind.

He picked the place to eat. We went in the restaurant, picked a table and sat down for lunch.

Since we hadn’t talked in about two years, we spent time catching up with each other.

I told him about our journey of fostering and adopting our son. He told me about the places he had lived over the past couple of years. We also talked about the occasional part-time work he gets.

He also told me about some of his friends on the street, like Old Man Johnny and Whiskey Mike. He explained why he had moved corners.

He also told me that he had a son die when he was a young man.

It was the kind of conversation friends have.

I made this statement in the blog I wrote a few months ago about Grady:

His biggest need was friendship. Grady was lonely. He always had time to sit and talk. I learned about his past. I learned why he was living on the streets. I found out about a friend who let him shower once a week at his apartment. He told me about his ex-wife and extended family. I listened a lot.Whatever Happened to Grady?

I don’t know about you, but when ever I see a homeless person on a street corner, I fight stereotypical judgements. I figure they are lazy, struggle with addictions and mental illness, and not very trustworthy.

All that might be true. However, I know people who are not homeless that have the same issues. Not a reason to not befriend a person that lives on the streets.

I also struggle with the thought, “I can’t help everyone!”

Do you have those thoughts?

I feel the same way about orphan care. I feel that way about all the homeless people I see.

I finally decided to simply love one at a time. I know I can be Grady’s friend. Just like any other friend I have.

We can go to lunch and catch up with each other. I can lend him a hand when he really needs it. I can get to know what he likes and dislikes. I can pray for him.

We can sharpen one another. Yep. He has already done that for me.

How do you respond when you see a homeless person? Do you have a story to share about befriending someone who lives on the street?

 

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Kennethcamp3d

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

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2 thoughts on “Lunch with my Friend Grady

  1. I use to make up food bags and put small bills inside with a trac — when my children were young. Since then I’ve heard that true homeless people don’t want to be seen and are not the ones standing on sidewalks holding signs — those are the ones trying to feed an addiction. It could be right — it could be wrong — but I tend to by pass them now. The ones that come up to me now have stories to tell about needing a ride or their car broke down and they need money — I don’t have the compassion I use to — just because it sounds like a con just to get what they want. I just keep to myself especially being a women. I enjoyed your post and I pray that I will have the compassion to just see them as Jesus sees them and I pray He gives me a way to help — even if it means just to pray — which is a big deal!

    • Thanks for sharing that Renee. I think it is hard for most of us to know how best to respond to people holding signs on a street corner. It has helped me to get to know Grady, because he helps me understand at least how he lives and thinks. He admits that most living on the streets have addictions and/or mental illness. Grady also has a few physical ailments that make it hard for him to work.
      I sure don’t know the right thing to do always. My prayer is to see them how God sees them.