Homeless Sunrise Service

This morning at 6:30 a.m. was the third time I have attended the Homeless Sunrise Service. Each year, Richard Troxell has kindly asked me to sing during the service. It’s held at our Town Lake, near the gazebo…and there is hot coffee and breakfast foods for all who come to honor our brothers and sisters who are homeless.

The first year, there was a mist on the water, and the reading of the names of those who had passed away on the streets haunted me deeply. I believe I heard
28 names.

Last year, there was the reading of 40 names. After the service, I met a homeless gentleman named James, brought him home; Lance left him some clean clothes outside the bathroom door as he showered while I washed the clothes he had appeared in. We made him a huge breakfast, and we all sat down to pray and join in a hot meal. Then we took James to Target and let him pick out whatever he needed—sleeping bag, flashlight, poncho, socks, gloves, hat, sweater…snacks…then we took him to a spot near the woods where he wanted to be dropped off.

This year…I just lost it. Although I have talked about Joy and sung the song I wrote for her many, many times…I couldn’t contain my sadness and I was choking through tears. It was a weepy morning overall…the sky was gray, no real sunrise, and the air was full of a light rain…a lone blue heron rose up over the water and flew across and away, calling out it’s sad sound…a group of ducks flew in formation as the names were read…So many of us were crying…and kindred spirits consoled me after I sang, allowing me to truly cry; hugs were everywhere. Real hugs…the kind where people hold you up and love you and allow you to grieve. My dear friend, Jon, was there…and he honored me with his
strong arms…a sweet man I do not know came up and told me he had lost his entire family the year before…and he wept his tears in my hair as mine fell on his chest.

There was one man in a hooded sweatshirt. As I sang, as we all sang my second song where I did not cry, I kept trying to catch his eye. He was hidden in there so well. Finally, he raised his head so slightly, and smiled to me. It was the sunrise
I needed. It was quick, and fleeting, and mysterious, but it was the gentle nudge of “go on…I need you here today…and I’m glad you are noticing me, too…”

I feel so blessed that there are people in our community, and in the world community, who do care, who are striving to make a difference. Who grieve over the loss of those we may never know—whether they be homeless, or victims of war or rape or domestic violence or God knows what other calamity—I am just overwhelmed inside with great love for those of you out there working and praying and changing this world one step at a time.

Thank you for being a part of the caring. Thanks to Richard Troxell for creating House the Homeless, and for his brilliant Universal Living Wage (visit his site…learn about how a living wage could change the way so many people live)…
Thanks to all the people who let me really miss Joy this morning…who let me grieve so openly…

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