Thursday, April 14, 2011
What Norm Taught Me Today
When you become friends with a homeless man you'll never know what will happen next.
This morning I was ironing my shirt for work and heard, "Hey, Mike!" It was my homeless friend Norm looking into my living room window. Shocked and surprised I said, "Norm, I wasn't expecting you to come by to do laundry until 6 tonight." Norm looked at me and said, "I thought I'd drop my dirty clothes off early so I didn't need to pack them around today." I asked Norm to come in and have a cup of coffee. I didn't know that while I was ironing my shirt and watching the Today show, Norm would teach me some important lessons.
Standing Up For Your Friends
Norm reminded me about his friend who had said something negative about me and another pastor. Norm said, "Remember how angry I got when he said those things about you Mike? You're my friend! I told him how much you've done for me and other homeless people. I even reminded him about what you had done for him. Man, I got angry at him for saying those things about you and Pastor Larry!"
Deal With Things Instead of Stuffing It
"Mike, I got tired of being angry at him for saying those awful things about you and Pastor Larry", he said. "My dad always told me to deal with things instead of stuffing it. I found him and let him know how angry I was and that he should apologize to you and Pastor Larry," Norm said in a proud voice. "After I was done saying my piece, he actually apologized. He said he was mad at me and knew he could push my buttons by saying bad things about my friends," said Norm.
"Mike, you're going to be surprised about this. Even after he said all those bad things about you, I forgave him. I invited him to work with me at the thrift store last weekend and everything went okay," said Norm.
Gratitude and Honesty
I got home tonight after work and Norm was waiting for me. I let him in so that he could start his laundry. "Norm, I'm heading out for Bible study. I'll be back later on," I said. As I was leaving Norm said, "I'll take good care of things while you're gone."
When I got home Norm was done with his laundry but was sitting on the couch, laughing and enjoying a show on TV. I walked into the kitchen and found a note that he wrote to me on a paper towel. See photo of it below.
It said, "I ate one of your Lean Cuisine. Thank you for everything. I'll call you later. Your friend and brother, Norman"
"Norm, that sure was a nice note," I said. "I wanted you to know that I had some dinner while I was here. I'd still be thankful for everything even if there wasn't anything for dinner," said Norm.
I hugged Norm and he hugged me back. As he was walking out the door he said, "I'll call you later Mike."
When you become friends with a homeless man you might just get a lesson in friendship, conflict resolution, forgiveness, gratitude, honesty and a hug.