The Lost Man and the Young Vet

"If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a kind word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen."
- Loretta Girzaitis

This week I met two young men who touched my heart with their sincere desire to get things right. They became friends here, and here friends are a good thing to have. This is a lonely place, the 'homeless shelter', and finding a like-minded soul is like finding a life raft in a sea of solitude; it is something to hold on to.

Both of these young men have suffered loss. One just lost his mother and is not dealing with it well and the other fought for his country and is finding it difficult to re-enter society. They both felt isolated and alone. I cannot imagine fighting those inner battles in a place like this.

I sat with Jay and ordered his birth certificate and gave him a check to get a new ID so he can try to put the pieces of his life back together. He loved his mom fiercely, she loved him too. She took care of him and he is now realizing how much she did on his behalf. He is trying to do for himself now and is somewhat shocked that he is capable. Losing his mom is a hard way to learn this lesson. We chatted about all kinds of stuff except his mom, I could see he was on the verge of tears and did not want to cry. I steered him into everyday life conversation and he pulled back from the edge. As he was leaving I suggested he talk to a counselor in a neighboring agency so he can work through his pain. He agreed and said he would. Later I passed him on the front lawn and he yelled my name, showed me his new ID and thanked me for helping him. This job touches my heart everyday. Everyday.

Mike is a polite, quiet young man who spent four years in the military. He is homeless and needs all of his identifying documents: Arizona ID, birth certificate, DD-214 (military discharge papers), social security card, and his Veterans Administration card. He got lost briefly upon return from the Middle East but is desperately trying to get back on the right path. He must claw his way up out of the darkness before he can move forward in the light. We are just one agency on the Human Services Campus dedicated to helping people like Mike and Jay do just that. Together, everyone on this campus is a piece in that puzzle and we collaborate, taking turns holding the flashlight as people traverse the darkness. Thank you for helping us, whether it's donating, praying or passing this newsletter along to others. You all make a difference and we couldn't do it without you. May this week bring you many blessings!

Tracy L Geivett, Chaplain's Assistant