Showing posts from May, 2011

Seven Weary Veterans!

This week I spoke with...
Seven weary veterans struggling to survive
Seven weary veterans struggling to stay housed
Seven weary veterans struggling to live in the torment of their pasts

They tell stories with tears in their eyes, plucked as impressible teenagers with nothing to do, to serve their country with courage.
They tell stories of becoming killing machines, seeing their comrades and innocent civilians die.
They tell stories trying to hide their pain, their terror, their grief, their regrets, their guilt. But their eyes tell a story of fear and confusion.

Confused of the suffering neglect they now feel!
Confused as to why they've been left behind!
Confused of their homelessness and troubling mental illness.
Just dazed and confused, they rest before me, and I try, simply try, pitifully try, to offer a little of what I can!

They are heroes, homeless heroes, disposable heroes, faulty heroes and heroes without answers to all the questions that ricochet inside their …

PRISON: the fields are white for harvest!

This is something I wrote back in 2006 and had posted on the old CCO blog... 
It relates to the previous post I just finished (below this one)

We grew to love many guys through the 3 year duration of the men's shelter. Many arrived on our doorstep, paroled from various penitentiaries to our facility. Sadly, since it's closing, a high percentage have ended up back in the Joint. Some justly, some unjustly! But most are not in for violent crimes!

I set about to write letters and made visitations to Cook County Jail. A couple other guys also helped me. The Lord had laid upon my heart the importance to remember my brothers in prison (Hebrews 13:3). When we wrote, they responded, and when we visited, they were overjoyed.
So many were encouraged and blessed by my feeble attempts of letter writing.
Most do not receive letters during their stint.
Hardly any of these 50 men get visitors.

Prison life for these men brings them to their knees. In being caged, they lose their freedo…

Visiting Our Rotating Sick and Incarcerated Friends!

Homeless people are some of the most vulnerable people living in our cities and towns. Many of these folk just rotate in and out of Emergency Rooms and County Jails on a regular basis. That's why a program like 100k homes is so essential. When The 100K program meets with, and surveys, our homeless population, their staff determine who is the most vulnerable and gets them into housing as soon as possible. This Housing First model helps the homeless individual regulate their health in a safe environment and get the rest they desperately need. It has also been proven to be a very cost effective model because it results in a huge decrease in hospital visits, ambulance rides and petty jail sentences for minor infractions.

Cornerstone Community Outreach, the homeless shelter where I work, actually had the person 100K homes deemed as the most vulnerable, periodically staying with us and frequenting our cafeteria daily. I know her and her extremely sick boyfriend very well, and they would …

Twenty Minutes with an Eclectic Crazy Community!

It's always unusual, quite eclectic, somewhat daunting, and often times blessed experience to enter our humble doors at Cornerstone Community Outreach for the first time?

Bobby makes the long commute on the L-train from the southside. We engage in a nice conversation, he tells me his dilemma and I give him a check to pay for this month's rent. He asks if he can get some food as well, because things are very tight and its next to impossible to survive off a monthly veterans benefit of only $123.00! I say "Yes! Of course. Not a problem!"

We have to go downstairs to xerox all his documents. I am bombarded by a few of our more flamboyant daily visitors who endlessly holler all their requests.

As I enter the door, Lateef surrounds me and loudly proclaims with his Nigerian accent, "don't you love me no more Jeremy? Why you always ignoring me? You need to give me some time?" I smile at him and say, "you know I love you, but I'm with someone else rig…

Violence and Retaliation in the Name of Peace!

Osama Obama
Painting legacies that promote an endless cycle of violence begetting violence

Osama Obama
Picturing the reality of how "one who lives by the sword, dies by the sword"

Osama Obama
Perpetuating a psychology of hatred, revenge and retaliation in the name of justice
... and ironically

Hate leading to more hate
Revenge leading to more revenge
Retribution leading to more retribution
Retaliation leading to more retaliation
Terrorism leading to more terrorism
War leading to more war
Violence loving violence
becoming so contagious
becoming so addictive
becoming the only answer
and the endless cycle of doom and destruction continues.....

Into an environment of
violent chaos
dominating dictators
ceaseless propaganda
the Man of Peace came
Surrendering all power
humbly fragile
poverty stricken
He came
as a new born baby

By bringing heaven to earth
He inaugurated a new kingdom
By living the Gospel of Peace
He transformed the propaganda
Revolutionizing the culture

Collapsing Walls and a Snapped Femur!

Jerome tried to get out of the way, but he couldn’t! The wall collapsed, BANG, right on him. His right leg, which was over his left leg, took the full impact. His femur snapped like a twig. Twice! There he lay, crushed under the extremely heavy wall, with the thickest bone in his body, the hardest bone to break, broken in two places. Terrified, petrified and horrified, the three guys that surrounded him used all their strength and adrenalin to budge the wall, and pull him out! In excruciating pain, Jerome lay in the rubble.
His buddies called 911, and the ambulance took Jerome to Weiss Hospital.
Jerome could have died that day. The reality is; his snapped femur prevented him from being completely crushed or paralyzed. It was a horrible accident; the doctor said it was the worst femur break he’d ever seen. In his 6hr surgery, he needed multiple pins, plates, screws and cables to hold that bone together. Every metal detector is going to scream with excitement when they see him approachin…