Bond of the Street… Christine McDonald

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Men and women who survive life on the streets share a bond like no other. This bond is an unspoken connection, commitment, respect, and love for each other that isn’t the same as the relationships we build outside of the life. The help we once offered each other out on the streets looked very different from what those outside of the life might understand.

The help we offered might look more like a hit of dope if someone was beaten or raped, or a shared sandwich. Or it might even look like a ride in a car or a night’s sleep in a hotel room to shower, if one of us had access to such a rare thing. Sometimes we watched over one another as we slept, particularly if we were sleeping outdoors or in an empty building. Sometimes we shared quarters for the dryers in the laundromat to get warm or dry off our clothes. I could go on. On the streets, we had each others’ backs, because no one else in the world did.

Once I heard an example of a similar type of bond formed among the survivors of a plane crash. Some died in the crash, and it took days for the survivors to be found. These individuals, who didn’t even know each other before this event, shared a bond and a connection that can’t be recreated outside of that event with another person. I think it’s the same for those of us who survived the streets and prostitution.

I was so sick with a cough, fever, sore throat—the works. A car turned the corner. I walked up and saw a friendly face, a “junkie–driver.” A junkie–driver is someone who gets high and has a car. His hustle is giving us rides to get dope. This particular junkie–driver drove a van. I heard voices and looked in the back. I saw a couple of folks from the hood warming up in the back. There were blankets everywhere. I asked if I could have one as I let out a cough.

They said I didn’t look so good, but I told them I was just sick and would be fine. I said, “I got cash for gas and for some dope if I can just ride for a while and rest.” They said sure. I gave them my cash as I climbed in the back. I said I didn’t need any dope; I just wanted to sleep. I curled up in a ball under a blanket and slept.

I don’t know how long they let me sleep back there, but I know it had been daylight when I got in and it was dark when they woke me up. “Ellie, it’s time. You got any more gas money?” I didn’t. They said they had someone
with some money, so they were letting me out and they would be back in an hour or so to check on me…

I share this story, I suppose, to show that we were there for each other. The help we offered one another might not look like help to an outsider looking in, but we took care of each other in the best ways we knew how. Ironically, I was offered more safety and true rest in that van with the junkie–driver than at many of the shelters around.

We recognized the brokenness we each shared, the hopelessness, the disparity, yet we always saw the humanity in one another—something the rest of the world chose not to see in us.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

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Paul Lehr

About Paul Lehr

Paul Lehr is a Speech Pathologist and home health provider. The majority of his work focuses on swallowing disorders in neurologically impaired patients. He has been a business owner for the past 20+ years. Paul earned his BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Oklahoma State University. His MA was completed in Speech Pathology at Oklahoma State University. When Paul’s son was born prematurely in 2003, there was lots of support from family and friends. Keeping up with phone calls was too much. So he provided e-mails with updates on health and well-being. In time, his son was healthy and came home. The e-mails stopped but Paul was encouraged to keep writing. Three years later, Paul was asked to assist in writing a Sunday school curriculum. The lessons were well received by the local body and on the church website. Again, he was encouraged to keep writing. Next, Paul taught a Sunday School class for junior high and high school students. He would share notes with others from the class he was teaching. In 2010, a young man at a local church encouraged Paul to start a blog. The website focuses on topical studies such as creation, God’s Appointed Holidays and Feasts, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, end times prophecy, ancient Hebrew cultural customs, the Prophet Isaiah, and various topical studies. Three years later, Paul’s 10 year old son told me, “Dad, you need to do updates on how the news is tied to the Bible.” The “Trend Update” was born. In the spring of 2016, a friend and fellow Boy Scout father encouraged Paul to start a YouTube channel. His friend thought it was a natural fit considering the content and subscribers from the website. God’s prophetic words have reached millions in over 190 countries. Isaiah 55:11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. That same Boy Scout father would later introduce Paul to the movies of Trey Smith and the God in a Nutshell Project… Guest speak and presenter duties have focused on the topics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in God’s Appointed Spring Feasts, Mystery Babylon, the antichrist, Ezekiel 38-39, and current events related to Bible prophecy. At this time, Paul would like to encourage each individual to learn about who God is. Because one way or another, we are all eternal. The issue is our destiny. Welcome to PaulthePoke and www.paulthepoke.com
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