Two churches were sharing the duties of the ministry trip for Teens Opposing Poverty on a cool Sunday afternoon. One brought the hot dogs. The other brought the chili.
We served about 30-40 homeless people in McPherson Square, just a few blocks from the White House. There were no long lines, no rush. They just kind of trickled in for food. The atmosphere was relaxed. Our volunteers had lots of opportunities to connect with the people they served..
As we transitioned from mostly serving to mostly talking and visiting, David, Oliver and I stood between the chili and hot dog stations. Oliver was bringing us up to date on his decision to propose to his girlfriend and told us how good he was feeling right now. He suffers from a number of chronic health problems.
After some unrelated small talk, the discussion turned to household bills. David shared the recent break he had gotten on his gas bill. Oliver was lamenting that the gas company estimates his bill every other month and they always overcharge him. One month he will have a huge bill, the next month he will have a huge credit.
As they continued their conversation, a wave of emotion swept over me.
I have known both of these men for over 10 years. They both used to be homeless, trapped in the prisons of their addictions. I watched how God used our friendship, relationships they formed with our volunteers and other influences to get their heads and hearts in the right place so they could endure the rigors of overcoming their homelessness. It wasn’t an easy road for either of them. There were setbacks too numerous to mention, but they persevered. They beat the streets.
And now they were talking about their gas bills.
I put my hands on their shoulders, looked at them, smiled and asked, “Ten years ago, could you have ever imagined you would be having this conversation right now?”
They they looked at me and at each other. In nearly perfect unison they smiled and said, “Never.”
Who would have ever thought someone could be grateful for a gas bill?
God’s grace to you,
Steve Jennings, Executive Director