Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Bittersweet Evening.

Tonight was my first night back to feed the homeless since being in the states.  It was really wonderful to see everyone again.  The little ones running up and giving me hugs, the adults with their shy greetings, and especially watching Jenny racing across the park with Dulce on her hip make every hard moment worth it.  It truly warms my heart to be able to be a part of their lives.  It was a great night overall but I cried twice tonight.  I very rarely cry when I´m feeding the homeless.  I think a part of it is that it´s all so overwhelmingly hard that you have to shut off that part of you to be able to get through it.  But there was no shutting it off tonight.  I warn you now, this is probably going to be a tear jerker.

This is Noe.  I´ve talked about Noe some before.  Noe was one of the first kids we met at the stadium and a regular at our feedings.  He loves to joke around with everyone and can be quite the trouble maker, but he wants to change.  About once every couple of weeks Noe brings me his bottle of glue and tells me he doesn´t want to do it anymore.  He promises that the next time he comes he will be sober.  Then we don´t see Noe for a little while.  Until he forgets his promise, or is really too high to care.  He knows how to push people´s buttons and isn´t afraid to do it.  But he´s so lovable.  He´s one I debated about bringing home.  He just needs someone to give him a chance.  Or I should say, he just needed a chance.  Noe died on January 9th, alone, on the bench where we feed them, from a drug overdose.  It truly breaks my heart.  I had no idea, but then one of the girls walked up to me and said "Well, at least you will remember Noe."  Then they told me what had happened.  She believes that I´m the only one that cared about Noe.  I know differently.  I know that God has been watching over Noe´s impossibly hard life from the moment he entered into it.  I know that God placed Noe in my life to change me, to make me more aware of how much we each need him, how hopeless we are without him.  Noe has been an addict since he was 8, he never had a chance to make a choice about having God in his life.  I believe that he is finally receiving the love and acceptance that he has NEVER known, in God´s presence. 

I debated about whether or not to tell this story, especially after the last story, but it broke my heart in a completely different way and I think it deserves to be shared.  Tonight as we were finishing up feeding at La Chimbomba I looked up and noticed that there was a bus trying to turn around in front of us.  I really didn´t think any more than that about it, it´s a common and very noisy occurance.  Then about 5 minutes later I look up and Darwin says "What are they doing?".  There were two people sitting on the hood of my car and 4 or 5 more crowded around the front edges and it looked like they were all smearing something around the windshield.  So I walk around the front of the car ready to tell them all off for being on my car and messing it up.  Then I realize what is happening.  As the bus was trying to turn around (each bus here carries a couple of guys that collect money and also help the bus pull illegal turns in the middle of the road by stopping traffic) the bus guys got mad because the bus couldnt back up as far as it wanted to because of our car.  So one of the bus guys took someone´s food and threw it at our windshield, effectively splattering it all over the front windshield and the top of the car.  Our sweet homeless friends were FURIOUS and frantic to get it cleaned for us before we noticed.  (I know it sounds like we´re totally oblivious to what´s going on, we´re not, but we´re a whole lot more aware of what´s going on in our immediate surroundings than a little farther away, and it´s NOISY all the time).  They were so sweet.  Darwin and I kept saying, it´s okay, just leave it, we´ll clean it at home.  But they wouldn´t get down until it was all cleaned up and washed off with the water we´d given them to drink.  It really touched me.  They were working so hard to help us and it just breaks my heart.  I have no idea if this will read with the emotion that I felt but I pray that you understand what it means for them to think about something other than their own personal survival.  I love them, all of them, more than I thought possible.  It´s good to be back with these dear friends.  With tears on my cheeks I wish you all a goodnight.


ann said...

Oh Amber, thank you for sharing this story. I'm so sorry to hear it, but thankful to know that because you and Darwin were in his life he knew love.

Teresa A. Searcy said...

As a missionary in Honduras I can tell you one thing for sure, those cleaning your windshield love you. And the girl who told you about Noe knows that you loved him. You are doing a good job or you would not have had either of these responses.

Alyson said...

See, you've been doing your job well because it's obvious that your friends have seen the love of God through you... and are not practicing it themselves.

April said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Noe. I agree with the other comments though. You are impacting so many lives for good.