Saturday, October 2, 2010

The story of Sam

I can't write this entry without the possibility of looking really bad to some of you who might not agree with a decision I made, but good or bad, it's a decision I made at a moment's notice and I can't turn back and change anything now.

About a month or so ago, my son met a friend I'll call Sam. Sam is homeless... I don't know Sam's story, and I've only seen and spoken to Sam once, very briefly, and VERY late one night when he came by our house to ask if he could stay over for the night, about two nights after my son met him. THAT's where you MAY not agree with my decision.

I said no. My heart BROKE to do that, but that was my decision. That's what I felt was right at the time. Sam is very young to be homeless, not a child, but a young adult..... to accept this young stranger into my home could bring on all kinds of problems. However, I could have also helped Sam by showing him kindness in letting him use our sofa for the night, and that's probably where I'll struggle with my decision forever. I'll never know if I made the right decision. But there was NO time to THINK, so I did the safe thing (and strangely enough, my son easily agreed with my decision, maybe he knew more about Sam than he was telling me??? I don't know. I DID tell him to tell Sam that we would drive him to a shelter, but Sam declined.)

Anyway, the day before that night, Sam asked my son if he could keep some food here for him... he gave my son about 4 grocery bags of sealed quick-and-easy food items to hold for him. Sam has never come back for the food... it's been by our door for a month.

I've looked for Sam on the streets, not even sure I'd really recognize him. My son had seen him on the street once or twice, but neither one of them mentioned the grocery bags.

Finally, when my son saw him again a few nights ago, my son asked him about the groceries, Sam told him to just throw them away..... it's been a couple of days, because I couldn't bring myself to get rid of a homeless person's food.... not even knowing if he's eating now.

But this morning I finally went through the bags to rebag them for a homeless shelter. Again, it totally broke my heart to do this, it felt like I was taking food from someone who really needs it.... I cried the whole time. And I prayed for Sam. That's all I can do.

If I see Sam again, I will offer him food, and again offer to drive him to a shelter.... but my hope is that if I see Sam again, he'll say that he's doing well, living somewhere safe and eating well.

Lord, hear my prayer!!


  1. Do not beat yourself up over this. Neither of you really know Sam, and putting yourself at risk is not the right thing to do. You are a great person, do not doubt that.

  2. Ditto what Ken says. You made the best choice at the time. And you know that I think you are a superstar!

  3. I would have done the same thing. Homeless young people are all over and I do pray for them, but the shelter would have been my suggestion too. I wish we could help them all, but the little bit we can do to help support and keep the shelters going is a great way to do it.

  4. Thanks for the support, guys.... I TRULY appreciate it!!

  5. (((Joann))) I feel for you but I trust you made the right decision because you were there at the time evaluating everything you knew and if it didn't fee right for Sam to be at your place, I trust your "gut instincts". Having Chris back it up with no insisting that Sam stay probably reinforced that it was not a good idea for him to be at your house. My son befriended a homeless guy a year ago and had him stay at our house here and there, sometimes we knew about it, sometimes we didn't (grrr......) but for the most part I trusted MJ until he stole just a small sum of money from son when I let MJ into his room when son was gone doing something else and I specifically knew that MJ had taken the money since I had seen it that morning and then when son asked when he couldn't find it, the only other one in his room was MJ (I wouldn't need son's money, it was less than $10). We had no choice to have MJ not stay with us anymore because he wouldn't admit he did it (we would have forgiven him) but I always made sure he had food to eat. If son was going out to hang with friends, I would ask if he would see MJ and would send food with him or son himself would prepare leftovers for MJ. We do the best we can, but we need to remember to follow our instincts and trust in them. And prayer definitely always is the key! in MJ's case, he ended up going to live with friends in another county and last I heard is doing pretty good :)


  6. Joann, You know yourself that what you said and did you did with love and were not rejecting the young lad, only offering the best solution. So worry know more. If you do see him just as you say you will speak to him and again offer him the help he so surely needs. Bless all our homeless people in the hard winter months ahead
    love sybil

  7. Thanks, Sybil and Betty.... I think it really helps to hear that I made the right decision. I'm trying to let go of the doubt that brings the guilt!!

  8. You did the right thing. You offered to take him to a shelter so the boy did have an option... don't feel bad. You cannot put your family at risk. I would not have done it.

  9. I have taken in the homeless before, but I do not have a child. It is just me here & my decisions affect only me. It is much different when you are making those decisions with your child in mind also. No way for me to judge that, & I should not even try.

    I believe you are a very good person, please accept that all of us make decisions that we second & third guess...all the time.

    Something tells me that if Sam does not even want his bags of food...he is eating & may even have found a place to stay. ~Mary

  10. I agree with everyone here. If you or your son had asked him to stay because he was homeless that's one thing but he would be better off going to the shelter as depressing as it is just to get off the street. Your a kind and loving person, Don't beat yourself up over it.

  11. I, as an athiest, stopped by.
    Which was more than you did as a so called Christian when a soul required your help.
    Why do you think I reject your religion and every other religion that tries to excuse the base animal responses humans make.
    If you want to elevate yourself above an animal try reaching for the star taht gave you your birth.

  12. Liz, I don't have to justify my decision to you. God knows my heart, and He's the only one who matters. You have a choice to NOT believe, and I have a choice to believe what I want. You can see me as you please, it does NOT matter to me. You can't reject my religion, I don't have one. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ... you can reject Him if you want to, it makes no difference to me.

  13. Wow, I cried reading this, I could feel your pain. Honestly, how can anyone say what they would do in this situation? Your son only knew Sam a few days, which means he really didn't know him! You hear horror stories in the news, you want to help yet, you want to protect your family. What to do! Please don't beat yourself up over this or let others either.

    I had the priviledge to help a homeless teen for several months. However, he was a friend of my son's for several years in school. While I didn't agree with his parents for kicking him out, I didn't approach them. I got to know a wonderful young man who later went out of his way to help my boys when they needed a friend at their side. =) Again, completely different senario. I don't know what I would have done - quick impulsive decision had to be made, you had to go with your gut feelings and protecting your family.

    'Sam' is also in my prayers. I hope you see him and get some positive answers.

    BTW, I knew back from the AOL journals. I saw your comment at Lisa's blog and came to visit a minute. =)

  14. You did the right thing. It is always a bad idea to put everyone in your house in jeopardy over an unknown person. Perhaps some food and a few dollars, but keep the home closed to possible danger.


  15. For what it is worth, Liz, I'm an atheist and have found Joann to be very true to her beliefs. All of us, no matter our beliefs, go through a retrievel, ordering, understanding process...and we make the best of it we can. There are no 100% true, right or moral answers in every single case; life is often more nuanced than that. ~Mary

  16. I am sure Sam will be able to take care of himself ~ Of course I am keeping him in my thoughts and prayers ~ Ally x

  17. Dearest Joan, hugs honey!
    As parents we have to keep the safety of our children in the forefront..there was no way you knew whether or not this person was addicted to drugs or did the right thing!
    Please stop by Lurkyna and say hi!

  18. It would be better if I emailed my story to you about my own plight in the Winter of 94-95 in Milwaukee about homelessness. I know exactly how YOU feel.
    Disabled Vietnam Veteran: 68-70

  19. I think its best to trust your instinct!! You did what you could for him!!

    This would be a good scene for John Quinones show.

  20. Please do not kick your self for your decision. Also, no guilt is allowed. Guilt is from the enemy. Regret is from God. BIG difference. I'm sure you made the right choice, especially if your son seemed to agree. Just let it go and don't look back. Sometimes tough love says doing what's right, not what's easy or popular. I'll be praying that Sam will be able to get things together and get his life in order. Our God is able and He can put people in Sam's life to show him the path toward a more stable life. You did the right thing friend. I am sure of it.


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