Jimbo

is his street name, but the hospital band on his wrist reads James Roy Robinson. He doesn’t quite remember, but claims to have either fallen down or been jumped on southern Queen Anne only to wake up in the hospital with multiple staples in his head. He then trekked from Harborview back to his home, which consisted of a sleeping bag and some random assortments through the years. Still dazed at what happened, he bought some alcohol and has remained drunk since Sunday. I met him sitting outside 7/11 a couple hours ago.

We shared a meal that consisted of slurpees and chili dogs as we talked about this little gizmo he was holding in his hand. He said that it fell off a motorcycle that drove by while I was inside the store and he was waiting in earnest hope that the rider would come back to pick up his loss. I had no idea what the thing was, but Jimbo was quick in telling me that it was a robot of sorts, which I felt to be a fairly audacious guess. The bus he was going to catch then drove by as I asked if he was going to take it, but he said, “No, I’m going to wait for the guy to come back so that I can give him back what he dropped.” I decided to wait with him as the conversation quickly shifted to cars and I soon learned he had an exceptional amount of knowledge about the subject. Having nothing important to contribute, I simply nodded my head and muttered simple words of interest to keep him going. We then talked about motorcycles and he told me stories of how he went 140mph back in his twenties when his step-son lent him his bike.

“I was hauling ass out there, and then I realized I was up to 140, so I began to slow it down. But damn, what a trip that was!”
“Yes, Jimbo, 140 certainly qualifies as ‘hauling ass’…”
“Oh yeah, and your cheeks fly back just like this (he smooshes his own face back).”

Shortly after this conversation a guy on a red bike drives by and Jimbo starts yelling, which I assume to mean this biker is the guy who lost his “robot.” We get his attention and it turns out to be a student who thanks us because what we were holding was his final project for his robotic class (WHAT THE CRAP?). He says he wishes he could give some money, but Jimbo says, “Naw, it’s all good. I don’t need nothin’. I’m just glad I could help!” The next few moments are filled with him grinning and laughing saying how good that moment was. He was filled with joy at the mere fact that he could help somebody out in such a basic manner, and you could tell this was a rare, sweet occasion for him.

He then went on to say that it was a good thing he couldn’t drive anymore because he had over 30 DUIs on his record, and had gone to jail probably 28 times because of them. I asked if he ever worried about hurting anybody while doing this, and he replied, “Yes, but it wasn’t that big of a deal because I’m an excellent driver! The only person who ever got hurt was me when I crashed my ’57 Chevy into a tree and broke my nose. Worse loss I’ve ever had…”

Jimbo then paused and said, “Wait! What about you? What are you doing around these parts?” I told him I was a student at SPU and was living in summer housing while working for ASSP in the ministerial side of things. We then got to talking about Jesus and he told me that every day when he wakes up he thanks Jesus that he can open his eyes and live out one more day. That if it weren’t for Him, he wouldn’t be alive because he’s made some terrible decisions in life, and God was the only one who could have gotten him through that crap. He grew up going to a Catholic school for eight years and even though he went through some sketchy things in life, Jesus was always somebody He knew and could talk to, so life wasn’t nearly that tough. “You just gotta take the path given to ya, and live it out the best you can without treading off the line.”

We finished up our conversation talking about how he went to college for one week, but then went up to a professor and said:

“I don’t think I can do this. I can’t go to school here any longer because there are too many damn good looking women! I can’t concentrate!”
The professor responded, “James, I know, that took me two years to figure out.”
“Well, I don’t have that long, so I’m going!”

So Jimbo dropped out of college because there were too many attractive women. Well, Jimbo, let me tell you about my freshman year, fall quarter…

I said I needed to go and shook his hand saying thanks for the good conversation and that if I see him around here or by the canal (he loves it there and says it’s the most peaceful place he’s ever been) we’ll catch up again. He didn’t let go of my hand but kept it grasped as he looked up to me saying, “No, thank you for sitting down and spending the night with me. You’re doing well for yourself, Chris, going to college and whatnot, so keep it up. You’re a good kid.” He had a piercing glare that was enough for me to understand how thankful he was. The feeling was mutual, however, as I pray that he experienced as much joy from this as I did from him. I was given dignity for my faith tonight, and in return he was given dignity as a human being – something dreadfully uncommon for our homeless community.

Blessings and love to you, Jimbo.

I’m just going to throw this out there, but if homelessness is something God’s given you a heart for, let me know. Some students and I are working on getting Tent City on campus hopefully in the next year, but need far more support than the current 5 students interested in taking on this hefty endeavor. Here’s some quick information on Tent City to catch you up to date:

http://www.mrsc.org/Subjects/Housing/tentcity/tentcity.aspx

I’ll explain more later, but this summer I’ll be working with our school, Seattle University (they hosted Tent City four years ago), and the surrounding Queen Anne area in getting this to be an actual happening on campus. If anything, please prayer for blessings upon this undertaking.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2

Love.

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~ by Chris Kyle on June 16, 2009.

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