How does change take place? What brings transformation? Change is inevitable. We are always changing. However, it is the great leaps that are more than something human. I have really come to believe that God is the author of great change, of transformation. But how do we get to that soft place to be molded? What can we do to position ourselves to allow God to move in our lives to breed deep, great change?

It was unusually warm out last night, but yet the cold, brisk breeze reminded me I was still in winter. No thawing has been needed, but still a dark winter. I walked down the hill on Main St. heading toward Terminal to meet….. my friend. Although the buzz of cars was seen with my eyes, there was a silence, that dark winter silence inside which made the world seem so irrelevant to me. I felt freedom in each breathe and each step. When you can walk and act in confidence regarding your surroundings and situations – the big, big buildings, but yet you know how enormous you are; that is freedom.

I met my friend, waiting for me outside of McDonalds on a bench, just like he said he would. I hadn’t seen him in months, but he never changes anyway. Living on the streets his whole life, it has always been the same. Since the day I met the “Musicman” commanding that organ in the towering chapel of that Catholic church – he has always been the Musicman. Purple glasses, long beard, never shakes a hand or gives a hug, packs his jacket with everything he owns and certainly never opens up his closeted life.

However, this time was different. Why did he approach me and give me a hug? In seven years of occasionally getting together, I had never felt his desire for physical connection. With no shaded glasses, I could see his soft brown eyes. His beard was trimmed and he talked softer this time. I must not have said more than 100 words in our hour together. When we talked about relationships, love, connection and I asked him if he had ever been in love – he told me his story. His story of pain, of loss and desire – but here he is, never married. I could see the love in his heart as he talked. What situations and choices make us who we are? Is there a connection?

My perplexity caused me to finally blurt out – “What happened to you? Why are you a new man? What caused this change?” I think it had been happening for years now, but I never realized it like this. It is not an impulsive, one-off, conversation he was experiencing. No this is deep change which things are made to last of.

“Jamie, going to church and getting my priorities right makes all the difference.” That is it, that is all he answered with. There was no need for explanation – we both understood through the silence. Although he still collects bottles, and migrates for any temporary work, even at his old age – he is changed. Probably his longest standing committed friend, I pray that God had used me anytime in the last 7 years to have played even a small part in his change. All the times we (my parents and I) opened our house for him to bathe, for him to cook, for him to find refuge from the streets – I pray those moments build hope inside.

Why do we give so little of ourselves for the Lord to use? Sometimes we have an encounter, when we least expect it and it just turns us upside down conquering our little perspective of what really matters. Lives, that is what really matters.

I want what this homeless man had found, the hope and belief to change.