Archive for October 20th, 2008

Lessons from Lee

October 20, 2008

Last month, a man named Lee started attending our Bible class. Lee is overweight, speaks with a terrible rasp, is missing teeth, and simply looks like nobody has ever taken care of him. Turns out, he’s been homeless for the past 20 years. He recently got sober, got a job, and is living in assisted housing. He was baptized last week and is about to celebrate a birthday next month.

Yesterday, we learned that Lee is going to have surgery to get his leg amputated. Why? Because several years ago, when he was still homeless, a couple of teenage boys set fire to him while he was passed out. I have a vague memory of hearing about the incident on the news, and I never dreamed I would end up knowing the victim. Lee was taken to the hospital, where the doctors removed the top layer of skin. He never received any other treatment. Now gangreen has set in, and the only option is amputation.

The boys who set fire to Lee never served time. One of them is now a Memphis police officer. If they knew Lee today, they would marvel at this articulate intelligent quick-witted man.

A couple of things I’ve learned from Lee (these are his words):

– Homeless people are the most important people in the word on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Any other day, they’re trash.

– It costs nothing to smile and say “hello.” You don’t have to give money to anyone. Just acknowledge their existence.

We’re studying Financial Peace in class right now (which I slightly hate, but that’s another story), but knowing Lee has a added a bit of perspective to the whole thing. We worked on budgets Sunday, and it was funny what “neccessities” suddenly became indulgences.

Stay tuned for “Lessons from Lee, Part 2.” 🙂