Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What if you could right a wrong?

Angie here: Interesting thoughts crowded my mind after reading, Unexpected Christmas Hero.

Stories like this come from regrets. The moments we wish could have gone differently, but didn't. I thought about my own life. How many times I look back and wonder if I'd known, would it have been a different story?

Ask me: Why Angie, what character do you most relate to in Unexpected Christmas Hero?
Angie: Would it surprise you to know I lived with my four children and pets in a really bad motel room for weeks? That was twenty years ago. I managed to find a job, but the apartment we'd rented was sublet illegally. We didn't know. The ad was in the newspaper right along with all the other available rentals. And we signed a legal contract. But all that didn't matter...

Without warning, we were thrown out on the streets on my daughter's third birthday. It took weeks after that to find anyone willing to rent to us because I had to spend the deposit. Was it spent on fluff? No! It was on the cheap motel room we landed in when we found out we had to leave the place I'd just rented after moving from one state to another.

We were victims of a scam. But treated like criminals. I've often wondered about that landlord (also a victim of a tenant who rented his place illegally) and the sheriff who threw us out. Did they really have no compassion? It was late in the day. I had four small children and two pets. They really had to throw us out on my daughter's birthday with no money because I'd paid it all to a crook? It took a while to get the money back from the thief. Did they really not care that we'd been victimized too? Wow! I can't imagine being in their shoes and not seeing the devastation done to my family that day. I wouldn't have handled it the same. At least I hope I wouldn't make a second wrong to right the first.

So yes, I relate to a mother trying to protect and provide for her children in bad motel rooms. I relate to circumstances beyond my control causing chaos and homelessness and pain. I understand sleeping in the cheapest place possible and hoping for a better solution. We even rented a camping cabin at a KOA until it was too cold. I relate to eating sandwiches because there's no way to cook a hot meal.

The difference between our experience and most-- my family dealt with homelessness for only a matter of weeks, I had a job, and one hero, Jack at Fidelity Real Estate, took compassion on me and let me make payments on the elusive last month's rent. We had a rental house because one person recognized my story was not me. It was a situation his compassion could help me recover from as I fought to provide for my family. I'll never forget sitting in Jack's office and simply telling the truth. I waited as he sized me up and then leaned forward to tell me he believed in me.

I'm a workaholic and I worked hard. I never let him down once. I kept him informed of changes, my finances, and everything I needed to do to keep his trust. Though he's no longer among the living, I believe he's being rewarded in heaven for taking a chance on me and helping us recover from the devastation. Devastation that easily might not have ended so well. Jack might have said no. I might have failed him. But he didn't. And I didn't. We spent Christmas of 1992 in a warm, safe home because of an unexpected Christmas hero of our own. It's not the same as what the hero in this story does. But then again, we all have our very own story, don't we?

What's yours?

 Unexpected Christmas HeroUnexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and the message it carries. Homeless is a hard place to be and a hard thing to understand if you haven't been in the same position. Kathi Macias opens up some of the many challenges faced by not only families, but also single men and women forced to live on the streets. Many struggle with situations not of their own causing. Some struggle with mental illness. But to hear the story, each person's story, enriches each one of us with compassion. An Unexpected Hero actually has many heroes written in the pages. The people who volunteer, Christians who open hearts and homes, and the many ministries that exist to serve those unable to solve the insurmountable battle with finances. I won't write a spoiler, but Ms. Macias had me misty eyed many times with her lovely story.

Go to her website and help find the cover model's family. He's a real homeless vet who would love to be reunited with the people he loves, if they can be found. No one knows what will come of the opportunity, but wouldn't we all like to have the chance to right a wrong from our past? It's not always possible. But what if, this one time, it was for someone and you had a part in that moment?

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  1. What an amazing story, Angie. But your real life story, and the story behind Kathy's cover model.

    Thanks for sharing the sweet story of Jack. I'm so glad he gave you and your kids a chance.

  2. I really hadn't told our story because it was a huge embarrassment. But maybe it can do someone good now. Thanks :)

  3. Angie, your story of your own experience brought tears to my eyes. you are a true survivor. More people need to hear this part of your life because you overcame this terrible event. You were down, but not out.

  4. Thanks, Christy. I think it's taken Kathi's book to bring me to a place I could share it. I understand not wanting people to know like Josie in the book. Some change how you get treated. That was quite a year for me, from my airlines reorganizing to the bad job I took to the housing. It really took me much longer to dig out, but God brought us through.