Catching Up With Old Friends

For quite awhile, Jimmy spent nearly every night hanging out with us on Outreach.

“It’s about time for you guys to head back to the van tonight, isn’t it?” he would remind us.

“Oh yeah…thanks man, I guess it is!”

Eventually Jimmy knew my schedule better than I did.

We spent the majority of our time discussing TV shows and trying to convince Jimmy to go to bed before 8:00 am so that he could get up in the morning to go to appointments. But Jimmy was lonely, he craved companionship, and he knew that he could count on us every night.

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Until last night, I hadn’t seen Jimmy in over a year. We had just begun our night when I looked up to see a smiling figure just down the street from us. His hair would have made Einstein proud, and I would recognize it anywhere.

“Jimmy! It’s been a long time, my friend!”

Hugs and greetings were exchanged.

TV shows were discussed.

And as we kept talking, Jimmy shared a lot of good news. He told us how he was still in the same apartment which, at well over a year, is longer than he’s maintained housing since I’ve known him. He’s found a church closer to his place so he can be more involved with services and Bible studies. He even makes it out on the occasional church retreat.

Then he dropped the biggest news of all.

“I made my goal,” He said proudly. “I’ve stayed out of the hospital for an entire year.” One of Jimmy’s constant struggles was being in and out of the hospital for depression. It’s pretty tough to get all of life’s tasks done when you sleep until 3:00 pm and are repeatedly hospitalized for depression.

We responded with congratulations and continued to converse on our favorite stoop. Then 11:45 pm rolled around and Jimmy bade us farewell. He was going home, he explained, because he had some stuff he wanted to get done in the morning. My jaw slowly dropped as he boarded the bus. Was this even the same guy, going home “early” and having planned engagements or events every day of the week?

It’s usually either very good or very bad when we don’t see somebody for a long time. Gotta love it when it’s one of the good times.

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