Friday, September 7, 2007

Brothers and Sisters of the Street

My dear friend, and a spiritual mentor, Richard wrote me this nice letter about the Bobs in his life, and I thought I'd share it.

"I hope Bob and you continue to bless each other. I've had many interactions with people who were homeless/ mentally ill and often things cut to the truth quickly. Once I spent an entire night hanging out with homeless folks in O'Hare airport (when they were tolerated there) playing guitar and talking with people. Finally, at about 4 in the morning, this guy who I had been talking to (he claimed to have once been a writer and well to do) asked me "Richard, do you trust me?". This appeared to be an obvious lead in to a request for something. I replied "To be completely honest, I just met you and I don't trust people until I've known them for a while." He was set back by this a little and apparently gave up on whatever he was trying to get from me and left. I guess I learned that plain honesty is an important ingredient in any interaction; that it leads to resolution, comfortable or uncomfortable. It is sad that most homeless are mentally ill and have burned out or rejected the supports that most people have to keep them in any kind of structured lifestyle. Mental illness, addiction, and sin are often dark partners; one leads to the other and which came first? which is the dominant force? It's hard to discern with any individual. God knows and we don't.
God Bless you

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