A man made eye contact and smiled at me repeatedly as I moved around the Lamb Center. I didn’t recognize him, but he was focused on me. He made me feel uncomfortable. “Who is that man, and why is he smiling at me?” I wondered. I even asked a colleague, but she did not recognize him either.
Six months ago near closing time, “Marie” and “James” came into my office. They initially gave conflicting information about their relationship, mistakenly thinking that they had a better chance of getting help if they weren’t a couple. During most of the interview, James hung his head down in pain from an ankle injury. They were homeless with nowhere to go. Eventually Marie and James both confessed that the root of their problem was drug addiction and they wanted to do something differently. They were eager to go to a detoxification program. I coached them through the phone call to the county detox, and they were accepted. At closing time, I left them patiently waiting on a bench outside for the detox van to pick them up.
Several months later, Marie came in with a group from a ninety-day rehab program to get clothes from our clothing closet. She and James were both on paths to recovery. She was beaming. She was happier than she had been in a long time. She had even started writing a book. She believed she had been thrown a lifeline when she came to ask us for help.
We love it when someone comes back with good news, but sometimes it is unnerving! The man with the huge smile was James. I didn’t recognize him because he was transformed from the man I met six months ago. Now he was holding his head up and smiling. He had gained about fifteen pounds and looked healthy. Like Marie, he was on a long-term path to recovery. He was proud to report he was clean for five months and living in a sober house. It was important to him to thank me and tell me that the direction he found at the Lamb Center put him on a good path.
When we open our minds and hearts to the nudging of God, God will direct our way.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”
– Ps. 119:105