Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) wrote an emotional story on Facebook Wednesday evening about “a homeless guy and a feast.”
The story began as he visited a homeless shelter this week and met a man named Dave, who is a former member of the shelter and now works as a cook there.
Sasse said that Dave shared previous hardships in his life, which included drinking around age 5 and using marijuana at 8. With little supervision in his home, Dave turned to drugs and crime. At the age of 13, he was banned from the state of Kansas after he’d “had enough run-ins with the law.”
Dave joked with Sasse that “he was the youngest dude in the history of Kansas to be banned from entering the state.”
A HOMELESS GUY AND A FEASTI met a guy this week we’ll call Dave (changed to protect his privacy). I was spending time…
Sasse said that “as he walked me through the steps of despair from there, it wasn’t surprising that he ended up homeless (for decades), or that he had some moments where suicide seemed like his only plausible way out.”
“But the story didn’t end in those moments,” Sasse continued:
He came into contact with some gritty souls at the shelter who didn’t just smell his stench and turn away; they looked into his eyes and told him they’d help — if he wanted it. He’d grown up around a bar, so he believed he could add some value in a kitchen. Fast forward: After three failures at in-patient rehab, volunteer labor eventually became a real job; broad-shouldered-intervention led to regular attendance at AA; and now he’s landed in an apartment paid for … by his own paychecks. He has his own place — and he has a place.
“He’s been beaten and humbled, but he’s a man,” Sasse said. “He referred to himself multiple times as ‘a drunk, a druggie, a liar, and a thief’ — but in saying this, he wasn’t cowering; he was owning it, as the kind of human who knows how to tell the truth. Importantly, he also called himself ‘a worker.’”
Following Dave’s story, the senator asked him, “Next time I come back here, what’s the best thing I can do to add real value for you as you lead your kitchen? I don’t want mere busy work; I’d want to be tackling actual needs you have as the boss.”
Dave’s reply touched Sasse’s heart:
I’d had tears in my eyes a bunch already this day, but here’s where they almost spilled out. Dave matter-of-factly announced, “Listen, you could obviously dish out meals. You could plate desserts. You could come early and open the vegetables. [There were crates of cans behind him.] You could help clean up.”
“But…when I look out the serving window at these guys, I see myself ten years ago. And you know what they actually need? They need humanity. They need touch. They need you to look them in the eyes and see them – not just look at them. They need you to want to be there.”
“When we’re homeless in this city, we’re pretty fortunate. We know you can almost always get food. That isn’t the real problem. People leaving restaurants with their left-overs will always throw calories at you. But 9 times out of 10 they also throw some spite at you. We know they think we’re worthless.” The ache in his voice showed the wound hadn’t fully healed ten years out.
Dave said, “There is always food – but there’s never ‘a dinner,.” Sasse said that by “distinguishing between mere food and an actual ‘dinner,’ he was explaining that there’s no ‘event’ to which the homeless guy is ever invited.”
Sasse then emphasized that it is currently Holy Week for Christians, where they remember the “last supper,” where Christ washed the feet of his disciples.
“Jesus went to his knees to serve his disciples,” Sasse wrote. “To serve guys like Dave. It is, quite simply, the greatest inversion story in history.” He continued:
Then, this messiah — with a donkey as his ride and the gallows as his near destiny — invited them not merely to a refueling with calories, but to a breaking of bread … together. He called them to “a Feast.” He wanted to reconcile them to him, and to one another.
“Without even meaning to, Dave served me this week,” the senator wrote.
“His ‘I’ve got food but I need a dinner’ explanation caused the larger story of this week to spring back to life. In talking about the Feast, he was talking about love. He was preaching to all of us.”
(H/T The Blaze)