a day closer.

Each morning I give my pup a little kiss and tell him to be a good boy as I close the door and turn the key. And each time, the same thought comes over me: I’m another day closer to the one I won’t return from, reminded that every act, gesture and moment with loved ones needs to mean a whole lot more today than it did even yesterday.

sometimes a tow truck needs a tow truck.

[Because some of life’s circumstances are meant to be unforgettable, no matter how hard you try.]

The 2am text hit my phone like a tow truck without a conscience.

It had been many sober years since his name popped up on my phone alongside the memories of that dark night when I almost lost my best friend.
“Can you call me?”

Some replies can wait until morning. I could tell this wasn’t one of them.

Two years into my sobriety five years back, this man saved two lives, one of which was mine.

Enough clean time under my belt to have known better that night, I let my new puppy, Butch, run into the street, only to get plowed by a tow truck, left spinning on the asphalt in pain from a broken leg. Not having the $1,500 to get him medical attention, an angel named Peter stepped in with a credit card at the last moment to foot a bill I have never repaid.
He’d insisted it was a gift from a fellow dog lover and we both were in a fury over the tow truck driver who’d fled the scene. My dog recovered, but apparently, Peter has not.

I phoned him.
He’d taken medical leave from work last winter and through a series of insurance foibles, he was forced to use the last of his savings over the past six months to keep himself alive. Now on public assistance and fighting insurance companies and for his life, he needed someone, and stat.

For those who follow me, it’s widely known my dog and I are an inseparable team. Now nearly five years old, he’s a Facebook celebrity and brings more joy to me than a life of drugs ever promised without delivering. The only reason he’s still here is because of an angel named Peter who now needs a tow truck.
We talked of the dominoes of his life which had fallen in rapid succession, bringing him to reluctantly call on those who he thought might be able to help in his own time of need. And as these stories often go, apparently, I’m the only one who returned his call.

I don’t make much in the non-profit world. I suppose that’s why it’s called non-profit. But I pay my rent and utilities and eat and love my dog and never forget visits from angels.

“I have never forgotten what you did for me and Butch, Peter, and despite how long it’s been, I also won’t be one of those people who don’t answer your call.”
Out of shame for asking, he cried on the phone and explained he wasn’t looking to be repaid. He’d forgiven the debt long ago and gently refused my offer four years back when we last talked. He said he called me because I’d always seemed different from everyone else, even during the days I was awash in drugs and lost in addiction.

We’re meeting this week and I will be giving him weekly assistance from my checking account to help him get back on his feet. And in my line of work, I can now offer him so much more than money to fish him out of the mess and stop the domino effect that has brought this angel down.

I came home and held my best friend on my lap, looking down at the scar on his hind leg from that once dark night. He glanced up at me, turned, and licked the scar as if to remind me that sometimes a tow truck needs a tow truck.

a clean exit.

Maybe it’s because I’m older and wiser, but I’ve noticed that the things which now bring me to tears are fewer the everyday instances of hurt, pain and sadness, but more the unexpected moments of joy, reconciliations and serendipity. Maybe as we advance in years and become more numbed to experiences of tragedy we become more easily moved to tears by the sudden simple beauties that were always before us but appeared at an untimely early age when we still believed the world owed us more.All I know is the less time I have left here the more important I find it is to plan a clean exit on a high note.This small epiphany and the wrinkles are how I know for certain that I’ve finally grown up.

stop already.

Stop buying unnecessary things. Toss half your stuff. Learn contentedness. Reduce by half again. Pick four essential things in life and pause the rest. Do them first each day. Clear distractions. Focus on the moment. Let go of attachment to doing and having more. Fall in love with less. Cling to your human and its being.

generosity is power.

At first I didn’t understand it. “Generosity is Power.”A friend sought to write her explanation juxtaposing the two and it didn’t register with me until my afternoon encounter with a family newly ejected to the street. Panicked at the task of surviving and truly helpless at their prospects, I explained where I work and what we do. This is their first experience at homelessness as will be the same for thousands more within 30 days as the eviction moratorium comes to an end and at a time when for many, financial ruin and real recovery failed to keep pace. As first-timers, this family—fully self-sufficient for the past decade—had no idea that places like HopeLink even existed. They’d never needed help before. Generosity is Power.It’s why you donate to places like HopeLink—for your generosity to empower the powerless with assistance and resources for a hand-up in moments of crisis like these and for those still to come. In a million years, they never imagined this day would arrive, nor that people whose goal it is to get them back on track exist in real life. They are humbled but ready and so are we—and it’s because of you. Thanks.

a memorial day reminder

They never considered it a question of worth, always counting themselves lesser than the greater gain. Now free from a nation they freed, but lost to the lives they saved, they wonder from the heavens in silent valor at a those of this barbecuing, forgetful nation who merely consider their occupational hazard opportunity for another holiday. A Happy Memorial Day isn’t so much about being happy, but about offering a thankful moment of remembrance away from the grill and outside the pool to recall their merits of sacrifice offered at any price, and indeed at the highest.Then go happily eat your burgers, jump in your pools, and occasionally look upward happy that a complete stranger once believed you were worth all of this celebration.

$756

If an 82 year old woman can pay her rent and utilities, buy a bus pass, food and meds, put $21 in savings and still give $10 at church from a $756 check, something’s gone terribly wrong with the rest of us. I learned more about trusting God from this octogenarian in one hour yesterday afternoon than in all my years in church.

skin in the game.

My boss shared this idea with me today.It is the principle that motivated him to devote the rest of his working days to helping poor people get a hand up in the world.Surprisingly, it’s not about giving people free stuff.It’s about dignity.It’s about leaving enough for people to take when they are willing to put a little skin in the game. Well worth the few minute read…In ancient Israel, God instituted the practice of gleaning as a way to feed the poor. A farmer would leave some of his crop in the fields, and afterward the poor (the fatherless, widows, foreigners) would gather the leftover crops for their own sustenance.*Vineyards, as well as fields of grain, were to be available for gleaning (see Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 24:20—21). The most well–known example of gleaning is found in the book of Ruth. To feed herself and her mother–in–law, Ruth “went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters…” (2:3).Gleaning was a command by God for those with productive resources to leave something extra so that the poor, through their own labor, could provide for themselves. Although the practice is no longer required for Christians, it provides an example that can be applied to the stewardship of our own resources.1. Leave some work for others — We no longer live in a society dominated by agriculture. Instead of working to create produce, most of us use our labor to produce goods and services in exchange for money. Because of our type of economic system, it isn’t always easy to see work we can leave for others. But by thinking creatively, we can often find a way to let the poor use their own labor to provide for their own needs. For example, while we might be capable of mowing our own lawn or cleaning our own home, paying someone less fortunate to do the work can be a viable way of applying the gleaning principle.2. Gleaning is better than a handout — You might ask, rather than pay someone to do work for us, why not just give them the money? Direct contributions can be a valid and efficient form of charity. But giving someone a handout deprives them of the value and dignity that can be gained from working and earning an income. God could have commanded landowners to simply collect the crops and give them to the poor; instead, he protected the dignity of the poor by requiring them to contribute their own labor.People who go through hardships and come out stronger on the other side aren’t those who get a free handout. They are the ones who are willing to take help and maintain their dignity in the midst of it. They don’t expect life to GIVE them anything, but they will take it if needed and just as eager to rise back to the level of self-sufficiency they enjoyed before, sometimes higher.This is what makes where I work so successful in moving people out of the crisis of poverty back into self-sufficiency. It’s a unique place with a unique idea of what constitutes true help for people who both need it and deserve it.Incidentally, bosses who share stuff like this out of the blue with their staffs are the kinds we need more of in this world.

wrinkles.

Maybe it’s because I’m older and wiser, but I’ve noticed that the things which now bring me to tears are fewer the everyday instances of hurt, pain and sadness, but more the unexpected moments of joy, reconciliations and serendipity. Maybe as we advance in years and become more numbed to experiences of tragedy we become more easily moved to tears by the sudden simple beauties that were always before us but appeared at an untimely early age when we still believed the world owed us more.
All I know is the less time I have left here the more important I find it is to plan a clean exit on a high note.
This small epiphany and the wrinkles are how I know for certain that I’ve finally grown up.

No clue what I will do.

𝘌𝘕𝘑𝘖𝘠 𝘊𝘈𝘙𝘐𝘕𝘎 𝘍𝘖𝘙 𝘠𝘖𝘜𝘙 𝘔𝘖𝘔 𝘕𝘖𝘞.𝘖𝘕𝘌 𝘋𝘈𝘠 𝘠𝘖𝘜’𝘓𝘓 𝘞𝘈𝘕𝘛 𝘛𝘖 𝘈𝘎𝘈𝘐𝘕.

I bought more panties, bras and pads than any gay man should.

More comfy purses to fit my arms than any straight man would.

To beauty parlors, nail salons and pharmacies with you

Been here and there and everywhere…I’m not sure what I’ll do.

The little walks and tearful talks and stories of your life

Have filled our days with laughs so thick, can’t cut them with a knife.

I get us lost, you drive me mad and tell me what to do

But we always end up back at home…I’m not sure what I’ll do.

The butts of jokes and puns of posts that make so many happy

That Q-Tip hair, the clothes you wear on Facebook looks so snappy.

So many pics that you have nixed and some you never knew

You make life fun to be your son…I’m not sure what I’ll do.

Clockwork calling days and nights to see how your day went

And kindly and reciprocally, you ask how mine was spent.

I can’t imagine how it’ll be some day when yours are through

You’re woven so deep in my days and weeks…I’m not sure what I’ll do.

No clue what I will do.