A Dream Loved Back To Life

There he sat feeding the pigeons again. No matter how many times we told him, Jerry spent every day crumbling bread for the birds in the parking lot. He was doing what he had done for years on end. He had been living homeless in downtown Atlanta, Georgia for a long time.

I thought of Jerry as typical of the homeless men that I work with at SafeHouse Outreach. Jerry wore layers of clothing with a sock hat and hoodie. He carried his belongings in a large rolling bag that had lost its wheels. Jerry had attached the bag to a razor scooter and used that to roll his bag around town.

On this particular day, when I went to go ask Jerry to stop feeding the birds, I asked him a question. I said, “Jerry, what is your dream?” Jerry stopped feeding the birds and looked at me, a bit taken aback. Then he answered, “I want to drive trucks. I am a truck driver.”

Jerry shared with me how he had driven trucks in the army for years. Once his military time was complete, Jerry moved back to Atlanta and made local deliveries by truck. Problems began for him when business slowed down because much of their work was seasonal. He looked for other driving jobs, but they all required a commercial driver’s license and training he didn’t have. I asked Jerry if he knew how to get those things and how much it would cost to do so. Jerry said that he would look into it and get back to me.

About a week later Jerry showed up at the front office asking to speak to me. He informed me that he had gone online and found a truck driving school that would train him, give him his CDL, and even pay him during training. All he needed to get there was a $150 bus ticket and another $150 for food while in training. The company would put him up in a hotel and take care of all the other accommodations.

Somewhere along the way of his life, Jerry had given up. He had given up his dream. He had given up trying to make it in the world. He had traded his dream of driving trucks for the nightmare of living homeless on the streets of Atlanta.

Now only $300 stood between Jerry and his dream. SafeHouse Outreach stepped up and helped Jerry out with the money. I took him to the bus station and he set out on his new opportunity at life.

In Jerry’s case, all it took to resurrect a dream was a little love. It makes me wonder how many dead dreams there are in the world waiting to be loved back to life. Pain, hurt, need and disappointment lead us to places of depression and destitution. If enough of these things pile up on a person, they can eventually just give up.

Love has a way of transcending all of that. It somehow breaks through the noise of our problems and reassures our soul that it is going to be okay. By spending a moment with Jerry and listening to him, a spark was lit in his soul. His dream came back to life.

SafeHouse Outreach

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