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Watching The Thousands Of People Trying Not To Become Homeless
Last week during my daily travels I heard many people were headed to some program call NACA to help save their homes.
I went to check it out; which was at the convention center downtown and it was very warm in there as well.
As I move around the function and listened to the many homeowners talk, it was a cloud of hurt, shame, disbelief, and just all around self-pity which I know that feeling all too well.
Then there was a speaker that went through the process with everyone and during the different topics he spoke of, he would talk briefly about how he was almost homeless a couple of years back.
He talked about how this same program saved his home and then he became an advocate for the program as well as an employee.
Many people were asking questions during his presentation that keep interrupting him but he was patient with them and generally concerned and they all sounded the same.
They were afraid to lose their homes and we all felt that in the air.
Many made comments about not believing that this program would help them regardless of the many success stories that show from past efforts to help homeowners right here in Atlanta.
It all hit deep in my heart because of the many years of being a real estate investor, being a landlord, and owning my own homes to NOW being homeless.
For me meaning not owning ANY homes!
But as they started to show on the big screen all the people that were being helped in real time, I am looking at them on the stage as well as on the screens, I begin to pray that more would come in for this miracle.
The miracle that comes from asking for help.
Something that I haven’t done, until the last 9 months, which ended with me in full surrender mode.
People were getting their mortgage reduced in amount owed, monthly payment as much as $500.00 in some cases.
When I think of how $500.00 a month difference many times for me in the past would make a difference of holding on to my home.
Something that I haven’t done up till the last 9 months which ended me up in full surrender mode.
I could only think for a moment as to all the times that I would be too prideful to ask for help because it would show that I didn’t know as much as I looked like I did.
Which means that I only looked smart, LOL.
But then I had a different feeling come over me, a feeling of peace, safe, and hopeful of what God can and will do for me because I am asking for Help now.
Now is all I have as I have been learning, thank God!
So again when I think of all the help that I am receiving right now from Clifton House mainly because I Don’t have a home.
Because I don’t have a home, I am receiving meals prepared for me, health care from the Homeless Veterans program, clothes, toothpaste, soap, a soft bed, air , water, freedom, sorry, I started a whole new gratitude list here.
So anyway this week showed me that I am not the only one that made financial mistakes in life and nor am I the only one that God is helping all because he loves me and because I asked for help.
Let’s see what lesson falls in my lap next week.
Author-Homeless But Not Hopeless.
For over nineteen years, the Rollins School of Public has honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Awards Program. The genesis of this celebration grew out of dialogue in 1993 between Dr. Joyce Essien and then Dean of the School of Public Health, Ray Greenburg where they agreed that it was time to align the mission and values of Public Health with the precepts of social justice. With the support of our current Dean James Curran and the diligent work of faculty, staff, and students, this program has grown to be a major event among the calendar of King Week activities held at Emory. Our program is unique as the only event that has consistently recognized and celebrated people and organizations in greater Atlanta whose work exemplifies the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..
This year’s program, as in past years, is sponsored by the Rollins School of Public Health and the Goizueta Business School and our theme is “Voices for Social, Economic and Political Justice.” This event took place on Thursday, January 19, 2012 in the auditorium of the Claudia Nance Rollins Building, Rollins School of Public Health (1518 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30322) and was followed by a catered reception.
The keynote speaker was Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears (Retired).
Among the awardees was our own Clifton Sanctuary Ministries.
If Chris Gardner Can Make It After Being Homeless, so can I
Another day awaken by God’s grace and mercy with another day to do the next right thing. Traveling the highways and byways of homelessness with half full tank of hope.
Meeting with my sponsor, attending AA meetings, and doing service work really starts to chip away at all that hurt ,pain and anger that separated me from my relationship with God for mostly all my life.
I looked at the Pursuit of Happiness movie the other day, although it is about the 5th time watching it, this time had more meaning to me.
I cried like I was peeling onions.
This time watching the movie while being homeless myself, it really hit my spirit.
Couldn’t see that one coming.
But to look at all the adversity that Chris Gardner went through for so long and with his 2 year old son in tow.
He looked broke, disgusted and was not trusted most of the movie but he never seemed to lose hope.
He cried, fought, and prayed and God let his plan unfold and what a plan it was. I just looked up his Investment Company, Gardner and Rich and he is now reported to be worth over 60 million dollars.
Talk about rags to riches!
He also donates major funds to homeless shelters in California and Chicago as well as Africa.
So to me relates to all the people that have been humbled by God and the spirit that is on them to help Clifton Ministries. Maybe they weren’t homeless but I am suspecting that some experience in their life allow them to get closer to God and learn about his plan.
I think they also learned that God owns and control all so he blesses us so we can be a blessing to others like the many people that show up at Clifton all during the day either dropping off items or giving time.
Yeah, they know how it works.
Author-Homeless But Not Hopeless
Note from our Editor: Christopher Paul Gardner (born February 9, 1954 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American entrepreneur, investor, stockbroker, motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist who, during the early 1980s, struggled with homelessness while raising his toddler son, Christopher, Jr. Gardner’s book of memoirs, The Pursuit of Happyness, was published in May 2006.
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