A Personal Story

Each chapter of "Love Lift Me Higher" contains a wealth of helpful and inspirational meditations, quotes, exercises, worksheets, and stories. The personal story that follows is from the chapter "Love, Hope and Transformation" and was written by Heidi Eros, Photographer, New York. When you have finished reading the story, perhaps you'd like to see some exercises and a worksheet from this chapter.

Down On His Luck
Last year I was standing for a few minutes outside the Borders bookstore in New York City when I looked down and saw a man sitting on the sidewalk with a book in his hands. Since New Yorkers often talk to one another, I struck up a conversation and asked if he worked at the store. He looked at me and said, no, he was homeless and was just reading near a warm building. Something about him impressed me. He seemed articulate and educated, and so I wondered how a guy like that ended up here.

My curiosity aroused, I asked if he wanted to go for a coffee. Reluctantly, he agreed, but when we got there, it took lots of negotiating for him to let me buy him some food, and then he's only take a bagel. After a short time I could see that this guy was normal but had had a run of bad luck. Nick's former girlfriend was wealthy and she convinced him to quit his night-shift job because she worked days. 'Why pay rent?' she kept asking him, so he moved in with her. Eighteen months later, when she decided to get back together with her doctor boyfriend, Nick was out on the street with no job. HIs first night was spent in a shelter but he was beaten up and had to have 56 stitches, so, understandably, he didn't go back there. Though he was clean and sober now, an affair with drugs during his short college career had set his family against him.

We talked all afternoon and I kept wondering how I could help him. He finally agreed to come to our house for dinner. When I called my husband, he just about hit the roof. Bringing a homeless guy to our house? But in the end, he agreed, as long as we were really careful. When Phil got home and met Nick, he too saw something special in him. It was below freezing that night, so we invited Nick to spend the night on our living room floor, since we live in a one bedroom apartment. It's been a year and Nick is doing so well. But don't think we are sacrificing! He cleans the house several times a week without me ever asking. He runs errands. He brings home bags of groceries, instinctively knowing what is needed. We've helped Nick get a job but he doesn't make enough money to get his own place yet, so we are looking into subsidized housing for him. We are helping him investigate community college programs and grants. And he is more appreciative than you can imagine.

I don't advise others to do this because you just don't know what your are getting. Nick says about 25 per cent of homeless people are more or less normal but that means 75 per cent aren't. Still, it has worked for us. People are always telling me what a saint I am but all I see is that we reached out in one small way to help one human being find some hope.

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