For the past six months (since October) I have been serving food to the homeless on the streets in the city which we live in. Each week is filled with different stories, experiences and people. Some weeks we (my group and I) have the pleasure of seeing familiar faces and catching up on their life. These people gain special places in our hearts, well at least in mine, because we build a kinship and sometimes even a friendship. There have been people on the streets that have literally brought me to tears, like Wendy, by the story she shares. Then there are people like Dolly, who make me to hug her and help her but I can’t because she was abused by a “friend” on the street who turned into being not such a “friend”. That leads me to tell you about Debbie.
It was one of the first times I had gone out with homeless ministries when our group arrived to this rather dark, long street. It was off the main drag and there were tents lined up against the fence. The area was rather quiet and the air was cold yet there were people bundled in layers and quietly chatting. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Debbie and a few other folks. Why I remember Debbie, is due to her unique, passionate and spiritual presence. We began talking.
Turns out Debbie has a degree in behavioral studies and I believe she mentioned how she even has a masters degree. (And this woman is on the streets!) She shared how life hadn’t always been this way but then when it did, it has taught her alot. She even wants to write a book on it. I hope she does. She also tried to convince our group that we should spend a month, a week, even just a night out on the street to fully understand what the homeless go through. I thought it was a neat challenge but I do not think it is the smartest decision for a 22 year old woman who does have a home. Maybe one day when I am married and have a man willing and wanting to protect me. Anyways…back to the story of Debbie.
The next thing I knew Debbie was nearly interrogating each of us in our group. But Debbie, did not question me. Instead she straight up stated, “you’re going to be a teacher!” to which I responded, “no, I am actually studying engineering”. She continued, “but you want to be a teacher, I can see it in you. What are you minoring in?” I responded, “just engineering but I guess I would choose math if I had to choose a minor”. She was smiling and flashing those bright white teeth of hers saying, “see I told you. you have thought about it haven’t you.” I just nodded. She finished with, “just keep focusing on your school and on your degree, no boyfriends or any of that. focus and graduate. you need to graduate”. And that was all.
It was like she had talked to my parents or something. Maybe she was the education police, trying to keep me on target towards graduation which will hopefully come in the next school year. It just amazed me how this woman who did not even know me, knew me. It was amazing and weird all at the same time.
I have seen Debbie a few times sense and I am always curious to hear what she has to say next. Sadly, I haven’t seen her the past few months and I am curious to know what happened. I suppose all I can do is hope and pray that she is safe and enjoying life where ever she is. (I’m also pretty sure wherever she is, she is also making the education police very happy).