Please Enable Your Compassion To The Home-Lost Community - https://www.facebook.com/stonetobread2012

Please Enable Your Compassion To The Home-Lost Community - https://www.facebook.com/stonetobread2012

A Poem by InspiredHope
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https://www.facebook.com/stonetobread2012

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John the Baptist

Our crew decided to take a journey through Harrisburg, PA, in search of new friends in the Home-Lost Community. After seeking answers for quite a while as well as touring the inner-city with relatively no clue where to head; they came across a large bridge, it appeared quite obvious that someone lived down below.
Direction appeared to be eminent; as they walked, they found a large place of residence just under the overpass, positioned in a way that it was vulnerable to flooding.

Sitting there, inside the house were two men, one late fifties to early sixties and the other appeared to be in his early forties. Despite the fact that living on the streets gives you the gift of hyper-awareness, (not to mention, weary of unknown characters); when we approached them, they were very welcoming and invited the crew to come sit. Immediately Stone to Bread was impressed by the set up the gentlemen had, and the thought occurred to Bill: that it would be great if we all could make the most out of our living situation as they did.

John the Baptist (a very talkative person as well as the ‘property owner’) makes his living quarters out of old mattresses and tarps. His residence is situated underneath a bridge that he terms it “the bridge over troubled waters”. That name seems to suit his property well, for during the times of flooding rains, (the overpass runs down into the drainage pipes located in his front yard. Causing flood damage to his tented home and all of his worldly possessions. John the Baptist must then dry everything out again and start all over with the items he couldn’t salvage.

His front yard is cozy; with a beige leather couch (something you or I would have in our homes), a living room table and chairs, a rug underneath and even candle holders on the table, with a large bowl of what appeared to be popcorn as a center piece. It was a comfortable place to sit and engage in conversation.

Upon getting to know John’s personal life, we find out he is the father of 8, he pulls out his cell phone to check the date and said his daughter just about to have her birthday on May 17th and we let him know we would send a HAPPY BIRTHDAY when we write up his article. Surprisingly he is also a grandfather of 4 and still keeps in touch with his former wife " she and his family are the reason for John working.

He has lived on the streets for the later of 22 years, way before it became a lifestyle choice. John, unlike most others in the home-lost community, has a nice paying job putting up drywall at construction sites. Yet he chooses to live here " when asked why, he simply said “this is where I am supposed to be”. He has for some time, chosen to utilize the money he earns to care for his family.

John is a simple man and has chosen this walk. He says the “politics of life” keep him here; this is where John wants to be, amazing as it is to most of us. He has found his “calling” of sorts; every so often he has community get-togethers, sort of like a barbeque; but without the food. He lights a bon-fire and everyone sits around and catches up with one another.

This is the path he has chosen, as it became a lit-candle when he was serving a prison sentence (to which (for privacy reasons) he chooses not to discuss). During his sentence, he uncovered the blessings of God and realized all the things he thought he knew he never really knew at all. As most do, he started doing what was right, doing the things that he felt God was requesting of him.

With so much time on his hands, one can only hold so many conversations with his own mind, finding the boredom of personal thought overwhelming, his library time became his favorite past time thus reading - his oasis. He became aware his ‘religion’ and when asked what religion he is, he states: “I am Spiritual, not religious”. Organized Religion is not the representation of God he found to be appropriate in his life. Scriptures are his motto; they represent what matters most to him in his story. So much so, that he can recite Bible scriptures without too much thought and he prides himself on knowing what the acronym for BIBLE is. But just in case that ‘spirit checked’ you, we would like to inform you on what we mean. When you are striving for answers and you have none, calling on the right instruction manual is crucial, therefore B.I.B.L.E. stands for: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

He is branding a “savior” badge he acquired in prison; there he witnessed a variety of unrighteous behavior, beatings " rape and even stealing food from those that were hungry. School house bullying cannot touch the horrific events that took place. That’s when he went with what felt right and started his spiritual journey “fasting” (going without food for days). According to John, they would go hungry and he felt that his fasting was God preparing and directing him; then guide him to the right person to give his food to.

Fasting was a major player in the time he served, as it is currently; John fasts three times per month and goes without so he can help feed those who struggle in his community. For the past year, John has taken in another man name John Sharpe and has become his ‘landlord’ of sorts. He watches over Sharpe as a father would, as it is beneficial to him as well.

Prior to Sharpe becoming a tenant of his, John the Baptist would come to his ‘house’ from work and find it was destroyed, the mattresses he uses to build his home would be missing and his belongings ransacked. He never knew what he was coming home to until God sent him a blessing name John Sharpe. It seems Sharpe was sent by God to help watch over his home while he is gone.

Comrades (or brethren) of sorts, they have developed a respect for each other, despite the fact that the two have polar opposite personalities. John the Baptist is indeed a savior for many in the Home-Lost Community and this is what he feels is his purpose.
John the Baptist’s personality has that of an outspoken man, savvy to street sense and ingenuity. He takes charge of things when needed and stands up for those who are being wronged; even to the animals around his home!

He has made friends with the groundhogs (to which he feeds, and they do allow him to!) as well as many neighborhood stray cats. Walking around his property, you will find the remnants of his house cat whose name was “Hitler”. He named the cat Hitler, due to him acting like a cat-dog and swore he was born of the two species. Hitler’s remains stay here, because this was his final resting spot, he doesn’t feel disturbing Hitler’s resting spot is a respectful thing to do. Hence, a story piece whenever someone stops by for a visit.

“John the Baptist sophisticated, intelligent and morally strong; his morals are his, not the morals of society and he holds on strong to them, not to mention seemingly a much loved person in his community. He has values that he sticks to and privacy he locks tightly in his heart.”

He seems to know the people, where they live and what their story is; not just this but he genuinely cares about his neighbors. Going above and beyond, he is an exemplary person who, if we were Home-Lost, would value as our neighbor.

Not many people in the Home-Lost Community have been such a poster child for the rights and needs of his friends, as he is. He knows the neighbor hood well, as a matter of fact, he pointed out a 19 year old female who he, at one time, allowed to sleep on his couch. She was a young girl, whose family (as she put it) is well off and offering the couch was, once again, what felt was the right thing to do. That is until the abuse between her and her boyfriend became violent and Johns belongings were being broken from the fights. When John asked them to leave, he really felt he had no choice but to make that call. Shortly thereafter she took the trailer as residence, (Not a trailer you may be thinking, however, an abandoned tractor trailer).

John the SHARPE One

When John Sharpe hooked up with John the Baptist, (a year ago) it seemed Sharpe’s life was lost in confusion of where he was being directed. Sharpe claims God has led him to be here (Home-Lost) for a reason. He says living with The Baptist has been a blessing to him, it’s a better situation than being beaten or robbed… worse? As well, it is beneficial to The Baptist, because his cold nights are not quite as lonely as they used to be.

Despite the fact that John the Baptist claims when his things get stolen, it’s okay because the person who took it needed it more than he did. John Sharpe still provides somewhat of a measure of security for their home-site.

Sharpe is now one of Baptists finest friends as he adds character and brotherhood to his life, Sharpe’s story is not as easy as John the Baptist’s, however.

As John the Sharpe One was growing up, he had all he could ask for; he says his father owned a landscaping business. The family had their moments, yet always seemed to come together during family times and holidays.

John has a “salesman’s voice and a quick wit about him” he is extremely intelligent it is no wonder that when he took ill, John’s father allowed him to help with the business (when Sharpe was in his teens). Around the age of 30, John’s father passed, he was so close to his father that his passing not only tore him apart but also ripped the fabric of its structure.

John didn’t know where else to turn, his father’s passing and breakup of the family (over monetary division) led him to seek refuge in the arms of ‘Lady Crack’. As we all know, once she gets her hooks in you, it takes death or a miracle to pull you back. This is exactly what happened with Sharpe. He ended up in jail (what we interpreted as drug reasons) for four years.

When his sentence had completed, knowing his family turned their backs on him and moved on without thought, Sharpe left with ‘nothing’ in the world; he looked for jobs, no one wanted to hire a parole’ and then after so many tries, Sharpe just got tired again and buried himself deep in the woods, as far away from his memories as he could go where he stayed for two years.

John enlightened us on the ritual of police officers with the Home-Lost Community; they come around and randomly draw a few people from their tents and run a criminal check on them. Well, unfortunately for Sharpe, it was his turn. Seems like hard luck is the only kind he has had since his father passed away " John thought his four years in jail had cleared him. Obviously, he was mal-informed of fines he was supposed to pay and inevitably, with no job, he had no way to pay it. Those fines had become warrants now and he was to serve another 21 days in county lock-up.

Back on the street again, Sharpe heads for his home in the woods, if luck was on his side it could only be bad. He found all of his belongings had been stolen and what was not taken had been burned. We don’t exactly know what happened there, but everything happens for a reason and he ended up here, with The Baptist.

During the entire conversation, Sharpe never interrupted, spoke little and as Bill describes him “Sharpe takes in more than he puts out” (speaking of information).
Describing the streets, Bill asked if he was afraid of living on the streets… his answer was so: “I was afraid the first couple weeks of living out here, but now, I would describe myself to be more apprehensive than fearful.”

During our conversation with our new friends, Bill’s attention was drawn to a young girl dressed in nice, clean clothes, carrying a cell phone and walking across the tracks. When he inquired, Sharpe says, “Yes that’s her, Shylah I believe” (the 19 year old that slept on the couch for a while). “Her boyfriend has gone to jail now and she found another boyfriend to stay with her. He continues… “She lives in that abandoned tractor trailer over there, would you like to see if she will talk to you?”

The offer was another opportunity to assist someone, so Bill, Sharpe One and Jason walked over. Upon arriving to her trailer, we found the door shut (of course there are no windows), we knocked on the door and Sharpe spoke up telling her it was him, and who Bill was. She refused to answer and rather hostilely asked them to leave, he explained to her that we are here helping the “homeless”; she spoke up again and stated “I am not one of you, I am not homeless”.

Bill and Sharpe respected her privacy and went on without an interview, however, moments later they saw her leaving the trailer and walking back where she came from. We really don’t know her story, what we do know is that she has stated she didn’t have to be on the streets, and that she chooses to live there. She was a very pretty young girl, we wonder if she is missed by someone " hopefully the next time we see her, she may give us another chance.

As we have mentioned previously, Sharpe and Baptist are polar opposites, Sharpe wants out- he wants so badly to pick up where he left off before his father’s passing. But at this point it has been 11 years since then and it is impossible to do so, Bill explained. Yet there is a drive in ‘Sharpe One’ that says he will do almost anything to get back what he lost, that he almost makes us believe turning back the clock is possible.

His current goal, since he cannot find anyone to hire him, is to collect anything he can to build his business again. He states landscaping is what he knows and thanks to his fond memories of his father “loves”. Therefore, Sharpe is building his ‘empire’ one piece of equipment at a time. As he repairs the items he finds, he dreams of his new “Sharpe’s Landscaping” and the family he may once again earn respect of. Upon research, the name for his would-be business “Sharpe’s Landscaping” is taken, looks like he may need to find a new (well suited) name to call it. Perhaps he would honor us with the utilization of his nickname “Sharpe One”.

We have a feeling that John Sharpe will achieve his goals one day, we feel that it could happen a lot faster if we all do what is right and help this man, and all the others in the Home-Lost Community.

In the meantime, he resides with John the Baptist; in Harrisburg " PA at his “estate”...

© 2012 InspiredHope


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InspiredHope
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Added on June 23, 2012
Last Updated on June 23, 2012

Author

InspiredHope
InspiredHope

Calabasas, CA, U.S. Virgin Islands



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