By Jesse Eubanks
The first time I can remember meeting Frank I felt like I was meeting a drunk Richard Nixon. He had a refined manor about his speech and the waves of his hair fell perfectly in place. He wore nicer clothing than a typical impoverished urban dweller and always wore a slight smile on his face when he interacted with people. When he would reach out to shake my hand, he would look me straight in the eyes as we spoke. In another life, he could have been a business owner or military leader or Billy Mays. He oozed confidence and genuine interest in the people he was talking with. But between his mental illness and his regular devotion to alcohol, his speech would often come off the tracks, until it became unclear what the conversation was even about.
I would see Frank every few weeks and the story was usually the same thing – confident speech, kind face, drunk Nixon.
A few months ago though Frank moved into our little community on Jefferson Street. He had been sober for a couple of weeks and was tired of living in the uncertainty of homelessness. He was tired of the alcohol. He was lonely. In the hurricane of addiction, he had finally stepped into the eye and could see clearly “This is not what I want out of life.”
Frank’s life, which had been ruled by unrestrained freedom for so long, was now ruled by the guidance and discipline that Christian community brings. He had other men waiting for him when he woke up in the morning, other men who were on a similar journey towards Jesus and putting their lives back together, other men who asked simple questions like “How are you today?” and “How old were you when Jerry Abramson became mayor?” He had other men to sit with him and help him understand the Bible, and encourage him not to choke another person even when they deserved it, and to listen to him wonder aloud, “I really want to be a preacher some day.”
After a couple of months here, we received a letter from a counselor who Frank had spent time with for the last couple of years. The counselor told us, “I’ve seen more change in Frank in the last two months than I have in the last two years. I am amazed.”
I am convinced that when a community builds its foundations on the real living person of Jesus, that they will be drawn upwards and inwards in ways that bring healing. There is great strength in good friends – friends who keep showing up to love us, who are willing to tell us things we don’t usually want to hear but that we need to hear, friends who laugh at our corny jokes or teach us laugh at ourselves.
Frank would tell you in his own dignified speech that his strength is coming from Jesus. I hear him talk like this all the time. He talks about how he wants to “do God’s work” and is being patient and enjoying where God has him right now. And for now, I am glad that I get to come to work every day and have a strong man look me in the eyes and shake my hand.
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By Jesse Eubanks The first time I can remember meeting Frank I felt like I was meeting a drunk Richard Nixon. He had a refined manor about his speech and the waves of his hair fell perfectly in place. He wore nicer clothing than a typical impoverished urban dweller and always wore a slight smile [...] Read More
We thought this was too cool not to mention. Green Meadows Hair and Spa emailed us out of the blue a few weeks ago to about been selling Spendyourself shirts at their Salon and the response has been great. One of the employees, Laura, will also be traveling to Northwest Haiti to serve the people of [...] Read More
Did you know: The San Francisco earthquake of 1989 was at the same time of day as the Haiti quake, and was of the same magnitude. Over 200,000 Haitians died. EIGHTY NINE San Franciscans died. How could that be? Simple. Most of Haiti’s buildings wouldn’t meet required inspection codes in the US. The roofs simply [...] Read More