Those Steubs

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This morning, José came by after not being around for two weeks—a very long time to not have contact. We caught up and had a really lovely conversation. Please pray for him!

A week or so ago, the cops came by the viaduct he’d been sleeping under and trashed his tent and all his earthly belongings. I asked José how being stripped of everything he owned made him feel. José said that at first he kept asking God, “Why me?” because the cops didn’t take his neighbor’s tent. He said it was like the wind was knocked out of him. But then he realized that he was too attached to his stuff and it was materialistic to think that way.

José has no clue, but his words pierced me. Here is a man who was dispossessed of every single thing he owned, while I’ve been struggling with the desire to make more money, own nicer clothes, and have things that “normal” people have, like a car. (This was probably fueled by riding my bike home in a hail storm this week!) But those are unholy desires, and we have the better part. José literally has nothing but the clothes on his back, and while he’s heartbroken about what happened, he also knows that “moth and rust destroys.” We have everything we need, and our God is a God who provides for and takes care of His children.

I also asked José about his drinking. I wanted to know if the reason we hadn’t seen him in two weeks was because he had been on a drinking binge. José reported that since the students from Franciscan University of Steubenville came to Emmaus during their spring break, he hasn’t had a single sip of alcohol. The students led a retreat one day that convicted José to quit. Praise God!

José shared that his friends and the other guys under the viaduct don’t understand, and keep pressuring him to drink. When I asked him what stops him from having one drink, he responded, “the hospital.” The week before the Steubenville students came to Emmaus, José was found on the sidewalk, passed out drunk and freezing to death. If the police hadn’t found him, he might have died from hypothermia and an alcohol blackout/poisoning. But thankfully, José is alive and, as of this writing, has not had a drink in almost a month and a half. That is the longest he has gone without drinking.

These are the stories that keep me going.

Before he left my office, I happened to sneeze. After the requisite “God bless you,” José looked at me intently and exclaimed, “Katie, you know what that means, right?!? Your sneeze?” I said that I didn’t. José explained: “Every time you sneeze, Katie, it means that someone has you on their mind.” Ha! So if you sneeze today…

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