Robert isn't homeless anymore

Robert. We first met him at Cross & Crown Mission. It's where he came for food. Meds. It's where he picked up his laundry once a week. He would stop by, get his bin that is marked ROBERT that would hold a fresh clean set of clothes. He'd change and leave the dirty clothes there that would be fresh and clean the next time he came by. It's where he came to check in with his family.

I interviewed him on video once at winter time. He said or rather slurred that he was just there for a blanket. "A blanket. Just need a blanket." And then he bowed his head in prayer with a volunteer.

We saw Robert walking around downtown lots of times. Sometimes in our neighborhood. He got around. I once saw him in Bricktown with a "to go" box of food. We surmised he had charmed someone at the fancy restaurants! Each time we would spot his tall, lanky figure walking while we drove - I would feel guilty and inspired at the same time. Should we give him a ride? Or, man, that guy gets around. He owns these streets!

He worked. He would sweep the parking lots of liquor stores. He would be paid in product.

I don't know where he lived, or rather, didn't live - either the homeless camps or a storefront somewhere, maybe the shelters once in a while. The folks who work at the mission full-time know his story much better. Know his heart. Know his struggles. Know that his answer would be NO each of the thousand times they asked him if he was ready to make a change, to go into recovery. Know that he believed somewhere in his tormented soul that Jesus loved him.

Robert died last week. He's home. And his streets will be paved with gold.