Do you ever have those days where everything goes wrong?
You have no idea if you rolled out of bed on the wrong side, if someone poisoned your toothpaste, or if you are dreaming. But one thing is for certain the day starts off wrong and it’s all down hill from there!
Such was my day . . .
When I planned my 7 articles of clothing for the week, I had everything under control. These pieces would be perfect! The mutiny on clothes was going to be a breeze.
Then I rolled out of bed . . . tripped and landed on the corner of our squared off bed post . . . cut my toe . . . (drum roll) and it hurt.
Running late, I sit down to put on my tennis shoes. Oh. My. Heavens. It’s painful!
Throwing up a quick prayer, “God teach me! Show me what it means to take my 347 pairs of shoes and a stuffed closet for granted,” I headed to my meeting looking all styling (NOT)!
Before my car rounded the corner, I was reminded of the guys on the streets. I begin to wonder if their feet hurt this bad while they pounded the pavement. I wondered if they complained that they only had 7 items or less to wear. I wondered about clothing, underwear, socks, and shoes. I wondered how they washed. My mind was spinning . . .
While I have learned about a homeless man’s shoes and socks from a far, I figured I’d let one experienced homeless sojourner tell his story for our stop for the one tuesday . . .
My time on the streets taught me a lot. One of the survival techniques is keeping clothes on your back. My way was to stash clothes in a hiding spot and just carry the bare essentials. That usually meant a full backpack for this old man and that was enough!
While I was in Houston I had a couple of options. There were enough clothes being donated that I could just wear them to the point that they are stinky and dirty then throw them away and then go get some more. Another way was to go to the Beacon and they wash and fold your clothes for you. Sounds great doesn’t it?
The thing was you had to be one of the first hundred and get on the list at 6 o’clock in the morning. To do that you had to sleep on the side walk out front of the facility. The line would begin forming about 2:00am and that was to get one 8lb bag of clothes done. To get a shower or a hot meal you waited in line approx. 6hrs. When it was all said and done you spent up to 14 hrs for this privilege.
On the streets the most important article of clothing is by far clean socks. For instance, I averaged walking 10 to 15 miles a day every day. You see socks and shoes are vital to foot health. Some of the horrible foot conditions I’ve seen would break anyone’s heart. This translates into new or good clean socks being like gold.
One day when I was new to the streets, I found this to be more than true. I was walking to the shelter and I just happened to be coming from Wal-Mart with a brand new 6 pack of socks. There were these three men sitting on the curb waiting to get in the shelter also. I felt God nudge me to go and give each of them a pair. I’d love to say that I skipped over there with a smile on my face and a song in my heart, but that was far from the truth. Fact is I was throwing the proverbial fit! Why would God want me who has next to nothing, want me to go and give half of it away?? Fortunately, I did I what I was led to do. Two of the gentlemen said thanks. The third man slowly looked up at me and with tears running down his cheeks he told me that since he had been on the streets nobody had shown him such kindness. Such kindness?!
If a homeless man feels led to give away his new socks, then what am I doing hoarding?
Do you know how many items of clothing that I have that hang in my closet useless?
Do you know how many shoes I have?
Do you know how many socks are crammed in my over-stuffed dresser-drawers?
You probably do, because chances are —
Your closet is just as stuffed.
You have shoes in every color and style.
You have so many socks and half of them aren’t even matched up.
While excessiveness crowds our lives,
closets, drawers, and shoe racks,
all it takes to bring tears a homeless man’s eyes are ONE pair of clean socks!
Now that brings me to tears. If it brings you to tears and you are feeling led to do something, you can buy some men’s socks from Wal-Mart and get them to me. I’ll get them to the streets.