Where’s Carl is my That’s why..

size_550x415_185709_585465961480508_814420212_nI had an incredible opportunity last Thursday night under the bridge to stand before a camera and talk about my “That’s why” moments for being a part of the Bridgetown community.

It was an incredible evening as we were in the midst of so many incredible people wrapped in so many acts of simply this..

Loving people because people matter.

Yet as I told my “That’s why” stories to the camera, if I was really honest and in retrospect of the evening, my “That’s why” moment that night was not found in the stories I was telling. My “That’s why” moment was found in what I did not see that night. It was found in one question..

“Where’s Carl?”

Carl has been homeless for nearly 23 years. He repairs bikes and even has a couple of them. Carl has a job working as a landscaper for a local small business. He also has family in upstate New York. Matter of fact, he was hoping to see them late in 2015 to take part in his nephew’s wedding.

Carl wears hearing aids. And, because I listened to rock and roll too loud when I was young, my hearing is not what it used to be either. I think we bumble through most conversations as we both strain to hear the other. But with this comes incredible eye contact. I smile thinking about it.

Carl always seems to just show up on Thursday nights, but keeps to himself. I love Carl. I look for him every chance I get. 

Recently, I had been out of town for a few weeks and wasn’t able to come down to Nightstrike. When I had returned, I found Carl and began to catch up with him and how he’s been doing. He always loves telling me about him serving at potluck in the park for the homeless each weekend. Wow, did you catch that? Ponder that for a moment before continuing on reading this post. But what he said next, touched my core.

He said he hadn’t seen me down there (Nightstrike) in awhile.

Wait, what?

To be missed by those who seemingly have “everything” is one thing. But to be missed by those who have “nothing”… I wanted to cry as I stood there talking with him. Sure in a world of constantly wanting to be seen on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else. This was not expected.

Too often our expectations of others is to be seen. To be noticed. We do things to facilitate this. We make posts that cast a line out into the sea of social media that says… notice me.

Perhaps to have “everything” in this world is really to have nothing and to have “nothing” in this world is to have everything.

Yet here, how did we get here? I even hate telling that part of the story because I don’t want this to be about me. I simply just want to love people because people matter …with no strings attached.

A few weeks ago, Carl was telling me about an upcoming meeting he was going to have with a person that had some potential programs that he could get into that perhaps might get him into his own place. He was very cautiously optimistic.

I have thought a lot about that meeting since Carl told me about it. I have been eager to hear how it went. What’s really awesome is that my daughter was with me too in that conversation, and she too is excited to see how it went.

Sadly, we haven’t seen Carl since.

My “That’s why” moment for Bridgetown right now is “Where’s Carl?”

Yet, as I blend back into life in between my Thursday nights and in and around these special “That’s why” moments, maybe the real question in all of this should be of each of us…

Where’s [insert your name]?

“A life void of service for one’s neighbor is a life in need of transformation.”

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