I was on the streets with our Thursday night team and met a man named Tim. Tim’s story is an unusual one in that several years ago he helped run a shelter for homeless men. He’d sought shelter there after becoming homeless himself, and was eventually put in a leadership position. After the shelter closed down, he became homeless again and has been for about a year now. This particular night, he happened to mention his birthday in passing. I simply asked him what day it was, pulled out my phone, and quickly put his birthday in. Birthdays are a chance to celebrate life — a celebration I don’t see very often on the street…and one I tend to undervalue.
However, I got with some friends of mine who knew Tim and we all agreed to go out that Sunday night with cupcakes and celebrate this man’s life.
We saved some donated cupcakes, fixed Tim a bowl of hot soup, scrambled to find a candle, grabbed some snacks for Tim and his friends, and finally piled in the car. When we got to Tim’s area, we couldn’t find him. Most people were asleep and he didn’t seem to be there. So after declaring defeat, we circled back to give the soup and snacks to a few people we’d passed. As soon as we stopped, the man we served woke up the guy next to him. And it was Tim! We all sat down, sang a slightly off-key Happy Birthday, gave him a cupcake, and got to share life with Tim as he shared his life with us. I’ve been learning those shared life moments — those celebrations — aren’t the small things…they’re the big ones.
– Hannah (WWAM Student)