I have taken some time offline to reflect on my life, and everything that I am facing.
Stressed could not even begin to describe how I used to feel.
I was walking out of a meeting with a client in downtown Winston-Salem last week, when a homeless man asked me to sit down next to him.
I asked him what was going on, and as I sat next to him, he explained that he had health problems, and because of the 98 degree weather, for what seems like the entire summer so far, he was severely dehydrated and waiting on an ambulance.
He had a small cup of what appeared to be tea, so I said, “of course I will wait on the ambulance with you”.
We will call him “Marcus” to protect his privacy.
Marcus explained to me that he lived in the streets of Winston-Salem, and if he had another stroke and seemed like he was sleeping out in public, he could get significant jail-time, which appalled me that sleeping was indeed a crime in Forsyth County.
But, according to Sec. 38-19 of the municipal code, it is, and according to Marcus, could land you around 20 days in jail.
I have been dealing with my own life lately, so consumed with everything going on, that Marcus, with that one bizarre fact, put my entire life into perspective.
It could always be worse, even though it can always be better, so be content with the current, and work towards better.
I sat there learning about Marcus and his life story, until his ambulance arrived, with passers by looking at a me in a suit, sitting next to a homeless person. Hopefully that sight, which caught many awkward looks from people, will teach people to be more compassionate towards others.
I told Marcus that I was once homeless for an entire year, in Winston-Salem, and that it gets better, and to take care of himself.
I gave him some money for a taxi after the hospital would release him so he could get where he needed to go and walked off to continue working.
2 days later, I got a text from my friend who pastors Shady Grove church, a church I sometimes attend with my wife here in Walkertown, had a successful school supplies drive, and asked if I would like to come help dispense the goods to the families across the area who needed them the most.
Remembering Marcus, and how much this community has done for me over the years, I said, “of course”.
We handed out backpacks full of school supplies, and even gave away free books.
The church whipped up some cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, and even handed out free hot dogs to those in the community who needed it the most, all for free.
It was blistering hot, but it felt good to be a part of some sort of social change in an area that is becoming more recently plagued by gang violence and drugs.
Nick and Danielle at Shady Grove are some of the nicest most caring friends I have ever had the chance to meet, and share in my belief that social change begins with the person who wants it.
Little by little, they are truly making an impact in this world, and the more of us that join in, the more we can change our world for the better.