Dena is a wonderful friend of mine who is also a co-author on this blog, but we’re not set up right yet, so I’m posting her latest blog. Read and enjoy!!!
In case you’ve missed it, there’s been an incredible story “gone viral” on the internet this past week of a homeless man who’s been “discovered” by the world. Ted Williams, so the story goes, was homeless, a recovering addict, a beggar on the side of the road…until, that is, a guy from a news crew saw him, recorded that “golden voice” and posted the video story online. Mr. Williams has been interviewed by Dr. Phil, Oprah, and many others, has been offered numerous radio and tv voiceover jobs, has been reunited with his 92 year-old mother who never believed she would see her son again…and gets to do that one thing that so many of us wish we could do—START OVER. Clean slate, baggage tossed, fresh new day.
There’s so much of this story that grabs my heart.
There’s a little envy, but I wouldn’t trade my life for his story of drugs and crime and homelessness in order to stand where he stands today. I do love the “clean slate” stories, though. Try as I may, I haven’t been able to wipe my slate as clean as I would like and my baggage, on some days, threatens to pull me down into the proverbial garbage pit—some days, I can almost picture myself as Princess Leia, white dress soiled with sludge, struggling to keep my head above the nasty waters as the walls of the Death Star trash compactor close in around me. Most days, though, it’s just a little grunginess…and a little heaviness on my heart. I do wonder, though, what it must feel like—that heady freedom today from worrying about all of yesterday’s troubles.
Ted Williams is getting a second shot at living “The Dream”. He’s always known he had an amazing and beautiful gift. Used it in the past with some success. Got caught up in the “trappings” that sometimes go along with success. Alcohol. Then drugs. Then crime. The downward spiral that led to homelessness and panhandling. Which, ultimately, led to God and gratefulness for small blessings. And then the upward spiral that only God could orchestrate.
People all over the world are cheering for this man. And not only cheering, but offering him help. A “makeover”. TV appearances. Job offers continue to pour in. A trip to see his elderly mother. Help adjusting to a new round of success. Financial guidance. Accountability. It feels good to be a part, even a very small part, in such an incredible “rags-to-riches” story and people are jumping at the opportunity.
So. If it feels so good, why aren’t we all doing it? We’re watching the videos of Mr. Williams with tears in our eyes and hope in our hearts for him and enjoying all the “warm fuzzies”, but is that it? Is it enough to wish him well and be glad someone helped him? How many incredibly talented homeless people are there who just need someone to stop and say “show me what you’ve got”? How many not-so-incredibly-talented homeless people are there who just need someone to stop and say “hello”? Who just need someone to STOP? And SEE them? I kind of think Jesus might’ve done something like that. I kind of think Jesus might like us to do it, too.
We might change the world. One Ted Williams at a time.
Who’s your Ted Williams?
“Perhaps the greatest mistake commonly made by those who strive to help
the poor is the failure to see the assets and strengths that are already
present in people and their communities no matter how poor they are.
Seeing their glasses as half full rather than half empty can completely
change our approach to helping.” Richard Stearns, The Hole in our Gospel