A morning walk on the streets

Last week Luke and I participated in a Portland forum on homelessness.  We made some great connections and heard some good things, but that’s not what I want to share.

Walk of Awareness 2012 sticker

The day started with a “Walk of Awareness” where we were supposed to pause and try to see the city through new eyes.  The walk wound past more than a dozen service sites, only one of which did anything to greet the walkers.

I’ll be honest: I was skeptical.  A pack of ministry leaders and pastors walking the cold streets between two warm meeting places.  OK.

Cold rainy street picture from Portland

I made a decision to give the walk a fair shake.  I cleared my mind and headed out, ready to encounter whatever God and the streets had for me that morning.

And I met a friend right outside our starting point, then another before the first corner.  People living outdoors who knew my name.  I stepped inside a day center and was greeted by more than a dozen friends.  I’ve spent time there just talking with people, well more listening than talking.  My friends have more to say than I do.


As we continued on it suddenly struck me – this place is home.  It’s like a great big room in my house.  It’s where friends are and where I feel natural.  That’s never occurred to me before.  I’m not just used to the streets, I feel a part of them, a sense of “home” that doesn’t make rational sense.

So I’m thankful for the walk and the chance to reflect.  And I’m thankful for a calling that puts me where I’m needed and wanted.  And I am so thankful for all my friends who are the ones extending the “welcome home” to me on the streets of Portland.