Last week, while waiting on Broad Street for my bus I saw a familiar face. You know, those faces you’ll never forget even if you don’t see them for a year or two? That’s what happened.
He was already across the street when I screamed “Timmy!” He turned around and came back to me and gave me a genuine hug. Timmy was dressed in jeans and the Villanova jacket he received during the year Student Run Emergency Housing (SREHUP) was shelter partners with Old First.
The first two seasons I was working as the Outreach Coordinator, Timmy was one of the OId First shelter “kitchen guys” — guests in our shelter who take on a special responsibility for keeping order in the kitchen. Timmy was always full of personality, usually had jokes and seemed like a genuinely humble guy most of the time. He helped us with Easter pancake breakfast, prepared dinners on nights there were no other volunteers, and he was available if we needed help on “off hours” with other projects.
I remember one night he was not in such a good state. He came to the church, and he had been drinking. He was being aggressive and bossy, and I asked him to leave. Michael was there too, and we were able to get him out of the church and told him he couldn’t come back until he had sobered up. I don’t recall seeing him after that, until now.
I asked him how he’s been, and he told me that he’s doing well and in his own place. He told me he accidentally dials our Pastor Michael every once in a while, when he means to dial another Pastor Michael. He says Michael Caine is always so friendly, laughs it off, and they say their greetings.
Timmy said the best thing for him was realizing his problems and addressing them. He told me that each day he wakes up and thanks God for his own place, a quiet place that he has made his own.
Timmy is very grateful for the hospitality of Old First and Bethesda, but nothing compares to having a place you can go that is your own. He doesn’t worry about 20+ other men or what if the cooks aren’t making food he wants. He doesn’t have to listen to a t.v. all night long or the sounds of people coming and going for a smoke. “It’s the best feeling, and it was always all in God’s hands”.
My bus came, and I headed off home, and he continued walking towards whatever he was doing next. On my ride home I was thinking that even through the loud and crazy times in our lives, it’s always in God’s hands. It’s so easy to forget that we aren’t always the ones pulling the strings.
See you in church,
Billi A. C.