I went to Corpus Christi House in Boise today to fulfill the last 5 hours of my internship for the social justice component of my diaconal training. When I arrived, I learned that there had been a service for a young man who had died there the previous week. At first, I had the impression that he had died on my last shift, but I knew that I had checked the alleys and hadn't seen anyone sleeping in the afternoon heat. Then Henry (the manager, I guess you could say) indicated that he had passed away on Saturday afternoon, not Friday (when I was there).
I thought of all the people who might've been "the one," and I hoped that it wasn't one particular man. It was.
TJ was about 26 years old, and he came to the day shelter with his 5-year-old son. They looked like a matched set, and he was perhaps the most attentive parent in the shelter. He never left his son in someone else's care from what I recall, and he always kept an eye on him, concerned that some of the "creepies"* might be around. Under the circumstances, he was a model parent (obviously to a degree). He was also very polite and disciplined compared to most of the clientele at the shelter.
Anyway, it was TJ who apparently died in the afternoon heat of a drug overdose. His son has gone back to Iowa either to live with his mother (a recovered drug abuser) or his grandparents. He left behind the only parent he's ever known.
I noticed that many of the younger male clients at the shelter seemed a bit more subdued today--perhaps a bit more aware of their mortality. I think of one fellow in particular whose "wife" gave birth prematurely to a baby just 5 weeks ago. I wonder what he might be thinking and what prospects he has for his life and for the life of his wife and child. For the first time in his very short adult life, I think he might actually be considering the prospects.
Please pray for TJ and his son, and for all of those on the street who want to have a better life.