Sleeping in a Wastebasket

By Wusel007 (own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0
By Wusel007, CC-BY-SA-3.0

This was a vivid dream that I had earlier this year. The image of this dream just burned in my mind, so I still remembered it clearly.

In the beginning of the dream I was just floating in the air, looking down on a public side-walk. It was a misty morning and I could feel a chill in the air. I saw there was a large metal wastebasket by the side-walk, and there was a person sleeping in it! I looked closer and I could see clearly that this was a homeless person in his early 50’s, with a neat white beard. He had a well-worn blue jacket, and slept with his arms folded in front of him. This must have been uncomfortable for him, sleeping in a metal wastebasket like this. However, I had a sense that he wanted to be seen, and indeed this was his way of protesting with his whole being in this place. He wanted God to see this, and somehow God has dragged me to this place to witness this scene as well!

I grew terrified of this notion, and woke up with a startle. The vision did not go away initially, but hung in front of me like a still picture for a few seconds, than it was gone.
What was the meaning of this dream? I gave it a lot of thought on that day. I concluded that God do see the plights of the homeless people, and He showed me this scene to make a very serious point that he sees everything.

For a long time I was very hesitant sharing this dream to anyone outside of my family. During these few months I had more interactions with the homeless people through my Church’s outreach program, and I had to change my mind about any preconceived notions I had about them. So I am sharing this dream with you.


Heavenly father, you are our mighty creator. I thank you for your concern for every one of us, especially the ones who are hurting and discarded. Make us see them and make us respond from the heart. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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Waiting Three Hours for a Church Service

(All names were changed, as usual.)

Last Sunday I had a small group church meeting in the afternoon. When I was ready to leave I noticed there was a lady sitting by the curb side of our church parking lot. I thought I recognized her, and I approached her for a greeting. Indeed it was Elaine sitting there. Elaine is a homeless person that has visited our church service once before. She was one of our clients from our Church’s outreach soup kitchen. She told me that she was waiting for the start of our evening service, which had three hours of waiting time!

I was very impressed by her patience. She had no radio or IPad to pass the time, but she could enjoy the nice weather of a comfortable California afternoon. When I paused to talk to her, I did notice the pleasant weather. Had I dashed off to my next appointment as I usually do then I would have missed this experience.


(Photo by Adrian van Leen, Creative Commons public domain license)

The Story of the Sad Transgender Person

(All names are altered to protect the privacy of the person involved.)

John was a male technical lead who transferred into our project team. There seemed to be nothing remarkable about him except he had a good reputation as a very accomplished engineer. He went to a long vacation soon after he joined our team. One month turned into two months, and he still wasn’t back. I remembered that I have almost forgotten that he belonged on our team.

One day our manager gathered all of us into a room on a short notice. We had no idea what was the topic. Is there a new hire, or are we all laid-off? No, our manager informed us that John has decided to obtain a sex change operation while he was gone, and should now be called Sherry.

At this moment Sherry walked into the room. What I saw was the old John with long hair, wearing a skirt, and with a surgically modified voice that was mid-way between a man and a woman. Sherry explained that she knew since very young she had a woman’s mind, but situated within a man’s body. That was why she finally decided to risk a sex change operation. Sherry also said that she will try to be the same technical lead who we used to know.

What Sherry spoke was easier said than done. Perhaps because of the female hormone she was taking, Sherry’s emotional state became very volatile. Our project at that time had run into some trouble, which was not unusual by itself, but Sherry had a very difficult time adjusting. Sometimes I wished I could help her, but what can a regular male heterosexual do? What do I know really about a sex change, except that in Sherry’s case seemed to have stuck her somewhere mid-way, and sad.

The breaking point came one day when our team were having a meeting, and we had our usual disagreements about how our project should move forward. I could see Sherry’s demeanor became very frustrated, and upset. I did not anticipate but Sherry burst out crying saying how she tried to be her best but no-one listened to her any more. She wiped at the tears, and in an instance she ran out of the room, with all of us staring at each-other in disbelief.

Sherry never came back that day; actually she quit her job soon afterwards. I felt guilty because I thought if I had approached Sherry and tried to help her, then she might not have ran out. This guilt grew stronger for me as the years went on. I also realized the strength of her belief in her female-ness, because the sex change operation did come with great risk, and she risked it all for a chance to become a real woman.

This year I and my family started to attend a gay welcoming church. I guess this is to make up for the years where I did nothing to help the plight of LGBTQ people. I still do not know what exactly has God called me to do, but I know I will have to be very patient, and listen carefully.


 

Picture by Kristina Daley, Creative Commons LicensePicture by Kristina Daley, Creative Commons License

A Homelesss Person’s Sharing

Last Saturday I was serving in a local soup kitchen when one of our clients approached me and pulled me aside. He had finished his meal and wanted to talk to me. He appeared to be in his 50s, sturdy, and cleanly dressed.

He said, “we homeless people are good people, except when we are addicted, then we become bad. It could be alcohol, gambling, or drugs. We are constantly struggling against them. Please remember us and our problems.”

I was touched by what he shared, so I patted his back and said, “I will.”

He waved to the few volunteers he knew, and left the place.

That night I thought about this encounter. The time I gave at the soup kitchen was just two hours out of a Saturday, but the gift this homeless man gave me was a piece of his life and his struggles. I seemed to have received more in return.

I prayed in response before I slept.


Heavenly father, thank you for what you let me see today. What we do is very little, but what you gave us is much more. Let us serve in gladness and with love. In Jesus’ name, amen.