Senior Life

Tribute to a Homeless Man

I think of the homeless often in the winter months and I pray for them. Knowing their plight could easily be mine, makes me even more grateful for my warm home.

A few years ago, I worked in the office of the church I attended. The biggest blessings I received were interacting with people of many different stages of life. One I want to tell you about today.

His name was Wayne and he was homeless. I’m not sure how he became homeless, but I know he preferred living like this. Wayne often helped out in our Food Pantry, and he often stopped in to ask me for a favor or to see if I had any work he could do.

I would look up addresses for him of people who lived in other states, usually Florida. I understood these to be members of his family. He was so kind and friendly and I enjoyed chatting with him.

Sometimes I would see him walking along the road and he’d wave at me. Eventually he received a bike and after that I’d see him riding from place to place. Wayne lived in a tent and provided for himself by doing odd jobs for people. I ran into him in a grocery store several times. One time he told me he’d been ill with a cold, so I prayed for him to get well.

One summer day, I locked myself out of my car at the local post office. Wayne walked by and stopped to see if I was all right. I explained I was waiting for AAA to come and help. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked what he was doing. He told me there was someone in the little housing area across the road who had a job for him. When the AAA truck showed up, Wayne waved goodbye and left.

One day Wayne came into the church and asked if he could borrow two dollars because he needed to do laundry. It was the first time he had ever asked for money. I felt led to help him. I gave him five dollars. He was so grateful and promised he would pay me back. I didn’t really care if he did or not. He was a friend in need.

Less than two hours later, Wayne returned and handed me five dollars. He had followed through on his word and wouldn’t keep the money when I told him it was okay.

Wayne considered himself a “watchman” for the Lord. He loved Jesus and wrote about how God had called him to be a watchman. He shared those writings with me. Carefully written text on yellowed paper testifying to his calling. Inside were warnings about retribution for sin.

Many people discounted Wayne and even made fun of him, but I believe he was called by God for a reason and he made an impact on my life. I learned not to judge another person because of how they looked or how they lived.

I learned this evening that Wayne passed away over the weekend. I have tears in my eyes as I write this because he will be missed. But I know he has made his final journey to heaven and will receive his crown.

Leaving you with a word to be kind to others and never look down on anyone. The greatest blessing you might receive could come from someone from whom you least expect. Until next time…