Lessons from Lee

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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.” 🙂

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11 Responses to “Lessons from Lee”

  1. terryaustin Says:

    I’d love to read installment #2, and also why you slightly hate FP.

    I have some issues as well, but overall it is pretty good at encouraging discipline and smarter money management.

    Lee’s story sounds like one that needs to be told from the pulpit. About a thousand times in a row.

  2. urbino Says:

    I don’t have an appropriate response to that. Everything that comes to mind is either snarky socio-political commentary or a vision of violent response to the cruelty of teenage boys.

  3. terryaustin Says:

    Also: How does this guy become a cop in Memphis? Because he was never caught/prosecuted? What’s the statute of limitations on attempted manslaughter by way of arson?

  4. urbino Says:

    Sounds like it was a juvenile violation, so it would’ve been expunged when he turned 18.

    Also, and this is no joke, the MPD is extremely desperate. You don’t even need a h.s. diploma to get hired right now.

  5. Whitney Says:

    I can’t wait to hear more, Mrs. P. 🙂

  6. alsturgeon Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Madame Peacock. I especially found the Thanksgiving/Xmas quote to be profound.

  7. mrspeacock Says:

    I was pretty horrified when I heard one of the boys was now a city cop. It’s one thing to hire people without a h.s. diploma. It’s another thing entirely to hire someone who could have burned a stranger to death. I can only hope that he’s a much different adult than he was a teenager.

    Al, I agree about the Thanksgiving/Xmas quote. Lee said that from the pulpit, and it was very convicting.

    Terry, in regards to FP. I agree that the general principles are good, and it’s certainly helped a lot of people. I just think the book itself is booooring. He gives 17 examples of the same thing, and I find myself saying over and over again, “I get it, Dave! Let’s move along.”

  8. Terry A. Says:

    He does the same thing in his video series. The number one criticism I got from people was, “He could say this in 15 minutes, but he stretches it to an hour.”

    When Ramsey talks money management and stewardship, he’s hard to top. But IMO, when he starts talking about getting rich (i.e. “living like no one else”), he gets a little to close to prosperity gospelism for my tastes.

  9. Terry A. Says:

    He does the same thing in his video series. The number one criticism I got from people was, “He could say this in 15 minutes, but he stretches it to an hour.”

    When Ramsey talks money management and stewardship, he’s hard to top. But IMO, when he starts talking about getting rich (i.e. “living like no one else”), he gets a little to close to prosperity gospelism for my tastes.

  10. urbino Says:

    I think you could’ve said that in one comment, but you stretched it to two.

  11. Terry A. Says:

    And misused “to” two times, too. Talent like this can’t be taught.

    Hey don’t blame me. It was my stoopid work computer, bogged down by processes related to producing a strong stream of junk mail. A guy’s gotta make a living…

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