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There are times that good acts of kindness or service goes not recognized, or so it seems.
During my travels during the day going to some of the places in Atlanta that offers services to people in homeless situations like myself, there are usually negative attitudes displayed. That could be from the homeless people or sometimes even more from the people providing the service.
There comments would often be, you’re lucky to get that, beggars can’t be choosey, or sometimes just the looks from them says it all. They seem to offer service from everywhere other than from the heart and I am learning every day that the only place to serve from, is from the heart.
Not giving grudgingly.
More often that’s also the times when the good deeds go unnoticed.
When there is a place that understands the downfall of people, times of trouble, not passing judgments and most important doing God’s work with a good spirit.
Brings back many memories from what Martin Luther King Jr. was fighting for us back in the day and even then people who struggled, was broke, poor, homeless, and didn’t think it was ever going to change for them.
It has taken many years for some of the work that Martin Luther King Jr. did to go noticed and rewarded.
Which brings me to the next point, Clifton Sanctuary just got awarded by Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award for all they do in the Atlanta community.
I was truly blessed in so many ways to have attended and seen this amazing event with my own eyes.
A homeless shelter being noticed, recognized, and then rewarded for helping homeless men is high on my list of things I never heard of.
Getting awarded anything from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health is a great honor and for me it just shows that God has his hands over all that goes on.
There were nine other organizations that receive an award and all had great stories of how they do their part helping the Atlanta Community and the years behind them doing it.
Then to hear Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, as the keynote speaker, tell her story of how she overcame some impossible hurdles and the organizations that she is an advocate for now was truly motivating.
That alone lit the fire in me to believe that God wants me to remove some of the limits in my thinking of what I think I am capable of doing.
So this award for Clifton Sanctuary is not small victory as this puts them high on the list of “Who’s Doing What in Atlanta” and from the looks of it that award will shine with the glory of God’s grace for a very long time.
That award went to an organization that has been damaged by arsonists a couple of times, that right smack in the middle of a really nice neighborhood, and has the nicest volunteers in the world that show up every day with smiles, open hands and hearts, and No smart comments trying to make the homeless feel lower than the ground.
I believe that Community Service would very much include helping a large number of men that made some wrong decisions, wrong choices, and wrong beliefs. Those same men got to the point of surrendering, pushing ego aside and asking for help.
Help that Clifton House is providing with the spirit of God in all they do and will do for the homeless in the future.
New Year’s Eve Made Me Have To Do Some New Year’s Thinking
I just celebrated picking up my 9 month chip of sobriety that Friday and Saturday is here, New Year’s Eve. I am hearing about all the parties going on that night and all the fun their talking about having. No one is talking about Not Drinking other than in my AA meeting.
This being the first New Year’s Eve homeless as well as being sober will be the challenge of all challenges since I always related this as a holiday to get loose. This is a time every year old emotion and expectations flare up and beat me down a bit.
As I walked through the downtown area on Sat, there were a few spots where the homeless tend to gather and I noticed a few fights or just heated discussions going on, guess the alcoholic behaviors started early that day because of New Years.
I passed the Peachtree and Pine center and the sight was just crazy, even for me, it looked like a scene from a zombie movie. People everywhere but not going anywhere. I was also stopped and asked for change which I gave up my last .50 and told them I would pray for them.
Then on my way back I see these same old men that set up shop for the night by the bridge, with their covers and belongings all in order as they do this everyday.
I then notice a small group of homeless guys in a huddle and a few of them were drinking and yet they seemed happy and were laughing in spite of their situation.
I know most would rather stay outdoors or under bridges because they can come and go as they please, no lights out time, no checking for alcohol in their system, and not letting God be in control of their lives.
But as I was heading back to Clifton House, a sense of calm came back over me knowing that there will be a great meal waiting, after someone saying grace over the food and the servers so that it can nourish our bodies and spirits just one more night. Knowing that there is a time when the door gets locked so anyone just can’t come and go; causing craziness because of being drunk.
Being far from under a bridge knowing that God’s hand is over my whole situation allows me to get some good sleep, and I love sleep!
Author-Homeless But Not Hopeless
How Being Homeless Made Me See That God Was Doing for Me, What I Couldn’t Do For Myself
Being homeless this Christmas Eve will not be like any other one before, because Hope is what I need Santa to bring me. In the last few months of being in recovery from alcoholism, depression, and just plain self-pity.
I have been giving many opportunities to help someone else in ways that I have never before felt was important.
Being selfish turned out to be one of my main character defects, so helping someone else without expecting anything in return was totally new to me.
But yet everyday coming to waking up at Clifton, getting breakfast, lunch bag, a ride to the Marta as well as a ride back in the afternoon is very humbling to me.
Dinner prepared by Pete, and seeing all the different volunteers that show up every day to serve dinner, wash our clothes, and wear bright smiles at the same time is so crazy to see.
And it happens everyday
That was mind blowing all by itself.
Why, I used to ask myself.
And I don’t have any money to pay for any of these services so I know without a doubt that this is God doing for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself.
So I don’t know nor is it meant for me to know how Clifton has been doing these great blessings for so many men for so many years.
I can only give credit to God and his plan because only God could move so many people’s spirit to give help to so many other homeless men, like me who never cared for or helped any one. Mainly because I didn’t know him like I am getting to know him now.
This has been the most humbling, confusing, loving, uncertain, greatest Christmas Eve in all my 44 years of living.
For me right now, “a lesson learned is a lesson earned.”
Author-Homeless But Not Hopeless