April 7, 1986
I awoke that morning ready to be at work, hoping that my attendance would forestall the inevitable. The electricity had been off for some time. Thankfully the wind-up alarm clock was able to work that morning. It was cold. All the utilities had been turned off. I wasn't able to get clean. Honestly, I don't recall whether the alarm rang that morning. All I know is that I was keyed up to be at work. It wasn't as if I had to have the alarm clock working anyway. The night was cold. It was dark. I awoke knowing I had to provide. I walked to the donut shop for the early morning crowd knowing that it might be my last day. I arrived just before five AM. I washed the dishes, I cleaned the toilets, I swepted the floors. By late morning the inevitable happened. My boss, who was disheartened by what he had to say to me, told me that I was fired. I couldn't do the job. He was stuck. He needed someone who could be responsible, who could do what he needed in the time allotted. He gave me my salary for what I was supposed to do. He was generous. As strange as it may seem, I felt sad for him. He wanted to help me out. He hired me initially, I think, in a desire to help me out. I remember that day explicitly. My mother and I were arguing intensely; and I decided to leave her side and walk over to the donut shop that was hiring. Amazingly enough, I was hired by the owner (maybe it was my emotional adrenaline). I worked there two whole weeks, my first real job. But he couldn't keep me on as a charity case. He ran a business. Eventually he needed to let me go. It was that morning. That morning of April 7th, 1986; that morning that we were evicted. It was the same morning that I was to be fired from my first job. It was the morning that I was to develop bronchitis. It was the morning that I was to experience homelessness. It's amazing how God can work in the midst of several different circumstances at once.
At the time, I was struck by the desperation of our situation. We called relatives in several states. Nothing prevailed. We had burned the bridges that had previously existed in our family situations. This was the end. We were left to our own ends. That Monday morning will always be inscribed in my mind. The early morning written by actions of putting a stuffed animal in my brown leather jacket (Tim, whom I still have, thankfully), a consideration of a few key items that my mother had set aside in a shopping cart that became quickly our only claim to worldly possessions. Those first few hours consisted of considering the possibility of desperate phone calls answering our most immediate needs.
The next three days consisted of realizing that we had exhausted our resources, especially those of my mother's family.
In the days to come, we were to realize that the family we were seeking (or who actually sought after us) consisted of those who acted in concert with Christ's commandments, and not with those that merely consisted with our immediate conceptions. That Thursday will always be foundational to my life. That group, which will always be known as the "gang of four", showed up in my life on that Thursday.
It's late and I'll write the next chapter next...