I can’t believe I’m back on the streets again. I hate the street. I hate being out here. I can never sleep well outside.I was working my butt off at my job and doing good. Getting paid. Paying rent. Had a nice bicycle to get around. I was making it. And then, SLAP… I’m back right where I started again. It stinks!I really just want to leave… run away from Austin. But I love my job and it will be hard to get another.”
As I listened to “Joey,” I allowed him to vent and spill it all. Then I replied, “Joey, I know it’s hard. I know it feels just like you say. And I’m not going to argue with you. But can you try to see yourself through my eyes for a moment? … Can you?”
He said, “Sure.” But half heartedly.
I began, “I see someone who knows how to make it. I see someone who wants to get off the street. I see someone who isn’t drinking himself into a stupor for something to do. I see someone who isn’t numbing out with drugs. I see someone who knows what he wants and is willing to fight to get it.
“And I see someone who is a million miles from where he was when I first met him. I don’t see someone depressed, ticked-off all the time, and not caring about anything. Instead of all that…I see you.”
He thought and then agreed that he isn’t those things and that he used to be.
But it’s hard. I had it all and now I’m slapped back to nothing again. I got detailed by the police but they were mistaken and let me go. While I was detained, my bike got stolen. And I just paid rent to my roommates, and then they locked me out. It’s not a documented lease, so what can I do? They are just using my money and laughing. I’ve got nothing and I’m right back where I was.
I replied, “I know you’re hurting. Let me give you a visualization because what you think can effect how you feel, just as much as the other way around. Can we try it?”
Imagine a “Super Ball.” Remember those bouncy, practically indestructible rubber balls? Put it down on the ground in your mind. Let it roll around aimlessly. Let it even get kicked occasionally around as people go by. It’s rebounding here and there, but it doesn’t really bounce because it’s on the ground. Now in your mind lift that little ball up to some place higher, even just a little. If you drop it, it bounces almost as high. If you throw it, it bounces back even higher. Now even if it gets whacked down hard, it comes back fast! It bounces back immediately, fast, in a particular direction, and almost as high. And with a little help, it bounces higher and higher. Sure, it hits the ground every once in a while, but it spends most of its time in the air. That can be you.
We talked a little more about some healthy ways to vent his frustration. Then he gave me a special gift with these words that I cherish:
I don’t like it out here, even though I have some friends that I care for. But you are the only one I listen to… the only one I let give me advice. You’re the only one who I take things from because everyone else wants something in return.
My prayer is that Joey bounces back fast and stays in the air most of the time. I pray that he also comes to know more people he can trust and that more people show him kindness and the light of Jesus Christ.