When we first entered the room, I couldn’t believe it. Alan had told me that the person who runs the Fort Collins Rescue Mission had told him to expect 2 or 3 people at the chapel this evening. I lugged my heavy guitar across the chapel floor, and became nervous. There were over 36 people crammed inside. There weren’t even enough chairs.
Alan began by introducing me and telling everyone he hadn’t JUST bought his hat. One man quipped, “yea ya did,” and everyone laughed. They watched Alan’s face to see if he was shook. He looked right at them and told them he was a real cowboy and had rode many horses. He told about the time he had been bucked off, but the third time, how his horse stood right there and waited–because it knew he would get back on.
Some of the homeless people laughed and jeered ==especially one man who announced that he was an addict. The second time he exclaimed, “I’m an addict,” Alan said, “we heard you the first time!” After that, people started listening more. Alan kept his calm demeanor he always has, and he kept talking. He talked about how God knows even if a sparrow falls from its nest, and that God knew the number of hairs we all had on our heads. His point being we were all acounted for and valued. One man yelled out, “God loves us homeless and drug addicts the best!”
It was touching to see how the crowd reacted. Several people got angry when the man with the clipboard came in asking who was going to serve the food. Angry enough to yell out, ” Stop disrespectin’ the cowboy, we wanna hear what he has to say!”
You see, after we were finished with our sermon and my songs, they were going to get most likely, the only meal of the day. And be able to bed up for the night since the temps would lower to under 30 this evening. Before I sang my last song, I told them how I’d been in a near fatal car accident and learned to play the guitar recently. Someone yelled out, “Glad you’re still here!”
I learned a lot tonight. I learned that everyone is worthy in his own right. I saw my husband as a new leader who touches the hearts of many. I felt as if we made a small difference, and we did it subtly and with grace.
A man hugged me after the service was over. He told me he had lost everything to alcohol and cocaine, yet had been sober for 9 days now. I hoped in my heart he would make it. I will pray for his success each night now.