I ran into one of our clients (or ‘street friends’ as we often like to say). It happened as I got on the bus, looking for an empty seat. “There she is!” I heard someone say. It was Ted.
He was sitting alone. The bus was crowded, cramped, in fact. But Ted had an empty seat on his right and on his left. He looked weathered, frail, and slightly intoxicated. He smiled up at me.
I sat next to him and we spent the next 10 minutes catching up.
It was like any conversation you might hear on any bus in Canada. We spoke about Canada Day last year (how chaotic it was!), the weather (where is Spring, eh?), and music (I play 1 instrument; Ted plays several ).
Ted was chatty, friendly, encouraging (“When I was on the streets, your outreach teams helped me out so much! They are amazing.”)
I couldn’t help but wonder how odd the two of us looked to the other passengers eyeing us cautiously. I hoped that they could see beneath Ted’s rough exterior and see what I saw: the talented musician; the sympathetic listener; the amiable fellow: a typical Canadian.
A deeply troubled past? Yes. Complex mental and physical health issues? Yes. Making strides? Yes.
And above all, still just a guy, talking to a gal, riding on a bus, on our way home.
This story is part of A Special Series this month in honour of OIM’s 30th Anniversary. We hope to raise awareness, challenge misconceptions, and honestly reflect the lives of those who call the streets their home. As you reflect on these stories, please take a moment to PRAY EACH DAY – just 30 seconds – for our ministry’s needs including a permanent location for our OIM Office as of Aug 1 .
Thanks and God Bless.