Saturday, 4 November 2017

Listening to the Little Voice and Meeting The Homeless Bard

The Homeless Bard Image - Ms Jane Campbell /

It's a rare weekend away for my husband and I, we up in London and quite honestly having a wonderful time. The guise for coming up here was to attend the Premier Digital conference but to be frank after meeting Lee, or #thehomelessbard as he's better known, nothing was going to have the same lasting impact.

After arriving to Victoria and taking a bus ride towards Leicester Square to go and book some theatre tickets we decide to get off at Trafalgar Square and walk the last short while. I'm not sure what made me suggest walking - that the bus driver was a bit laissez faire in his approach to road safety or whether it was a prompt from God, but off we got.

Within a few minutes I'm drawn to the well-presented (well, he's wearing a holey jumper, buts it's clean and he smells good) and well-spoken man writing masses on the pavement. Nothing too showy about it, he's just using white chalk and there are no pictures but there's something aesthetically captivating and beautiful about his writing. Within a few moments of reading and if I'm honest, earwigging his conversation I know why I'm drawn to it. Lee is homeless but he's also a man of God. He is living for Jesus and he wants the world to know the good news. And in case you don't already know what that is, it's that Jesus died for us all. He loves me, he loves you and there's no judgement or condemnation.

It doesn't take long for me to throw my pound in the bucket and grab an image of one of his poems, titled ‘Little Voice’. My husband asks if I've seen something I like and I point that first poem out and we agree that if you swap the word angel for Holy Spirit then it's theologically sound and reflects our beliefs.

Then the poem ‘Be the truth’ catches my eye next and my husbands throwing his money in the bucket too and I head over to ask Lee (I'm not sure if that's his real name and to be frank it doesn't matter, as the man going by the name #thehomelessbard is only interested in glorifying Gods name, not his own) if he writes the same poems each day or if he is given new material each day.

He's quick to tell me that his day starts in prayer and that God normally gives him one word and from there the poem flows. Some he copies out multiple days as they are the foundation of what he wishes to share and others are fresh that day. On the day we chat there are two new poems and I ask him if this is his ministry, I think at that point he realises I'm a fellow believer and he starts to share a little of his personal story.

About being homeless, although nowadays rarely having to actually sleep on the street as he gets offered places to stay and about his heart for helping those people who are homeless. This is a man with a God given passion, he wants to see an end to shelters and a rise to homes for the homeless to share. Homes where the obligations put upon the people living in them are not too scary. They don't have to sign on, they don't have to get a job, they don't have to be clean. But they do have to respect the home, it's a place of God, a safe haven where the only obligations placed upon them are that they must build community together and that if they have an addiction like drink or drugs, they must do it away from the house. It's a place where they can heal from the inside out I comment and Lee nods enthusiastically and says exactly.

He gets excited as he tells me about a dog walker he sees early most mornings and how this man is helping him to get a house to be able to start making his vision a reality and I'm touched, really touched. In fact by this point I'm feeling very tearful and thinking I really must return the call to the trustee of a local charity that I've offered to give some admin help to. Not just any charity though, a local one in Hastings that have just set up a home for homeless people to share. It amazes me every time how God works; the clarity I get to my pondering of if this volunteering opportunity was where I was supposed to be giving my time next.

Our conversation doesn't last long and I can see Lee is keen to get back to his writing, so I thank him for his time and take details of the two self-published books he sells on Amazon. I might just have to treat myself to those and in the process add a little money to his fund for the homeless.

As my husband and I walk away, he talks about how he feels a bit funny after our conversation with Lee. He's not generally an emotional man but he's been impacted by the conversation and whilst Lee had sounded a little like a conspiracy theorist towards the end of our conversation, my husband compares him to John the Baptist, as people thought he was off the wall too. And in comparing him to John the Baptist I think he captures the essence of who Lee is, a simple man, who wants nothing for himself but dignity for everyone else.

Thank you Lee for your amazing ministry and your God focused heart. I'll be praying for you and the realisation of your passion.

If you happen to be walking through Trafalgar Square, look out for Lee and whether you're a Christian or not, have a read of some of his poems as he has a wonderful talent. You'll know it's him, as each poem will be signed THB, for #thehomelessbard 

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