I a’int where I supposed to be, but I a’int where I used to be

By Rudy

I’ve known Micah for more than five years.

I grew up in Washington DC. I came out of a split family. My mom was there for me. She was like a mom and a dad. My dad left my mom with five siblings. 

I ended up coming to Fredericksburg and getting married, but my wife passed away.  I was staying in my wife’s family home for like seven years, working and paying the rent. Then they decide they were going to sell the house and that’s how I became homeless. 

I slept in my car. Then the car had problems, but I didn’t have money to fix the car. Someone had told me about Micah and I decided to go downtown and that’s how I got affiliated with Micah. 

Growing up, I was a boxer. I boxed for four or five years at the neighborhood gym in DC. I got in some trouble, but not a whole lot. Just like normal kids that don’t have a father around. My mom would send me to the boy’s home and I would stay there back and forth. Then when I got myself a little bit together I went in the Marine Corps. I was in the Marine Corps for about 12 years. After I got in the Marine Corps, I became homeless again. I guess I didn’t have my head on right. 

That’s when I came to Fredericksburg and I met this lady named Brenda. We got married had three kids; and that’s when the story came to fruition. She died from gastro-bypass four days after she had the surgery. That’s how I ended up in her family home. When she died, I became homeless.

I’ve always worked, mostly security, construction, labor finders. I had some pretty good jobs, but my head wasn’t on right. When my wife died it really took a toll on me. I hadn’t really been outside homeless until then. It’s different from being homeless and running away from home because you can come back. When you are really homeless, you don’t have no home to go home to. 

I didn’t come around Micah much unless the cold weather shelter was open. I had a lot of pride. I always had a job. When I used to come down to Micah, it was to take a shower, get what I needed and leave. 

When you are homeless, your nights are days and your days are nights. It’s no fun being homeless regardless if it’s summer or cold. It’s really worse in cold. Summer you can fend for yourself. But just being homeless where you can’t take a shower, when it rains you have to walk around and people look at you different too. 

I don’t like to ask for help, even though I’m not homeless anymore. I felt like I wanted to do it myself, and I wanted to prove to myself instead of anyone else. I should have taken some help because I really needed some help and I still struggle with getting help, but I wanted to do it on my own. If help is there for you, and someone is reaching out trying to help you, regardless of whether you mess it up or don’t want the help, you should get that help. I found out Micah would help me. 

God has been present in my struggles of being homeless. When you are homeless and you are struggling from anything you are going to call on God regardless if you believe him, regardless of if you accept God in your heart. I think I’ve gotten more closer to God when I got with Micah too, and started going to the churches and helping set up the tables and stuff. Every day I would go there was someone there telling me about God. I’m not saying I found God when I was homeless. I already knew God, but I got closer to God

My mom died. My father died. The rest of my family, two sisters died. I have one sister in Florida and I have a brother in Michigan. My kids are in Baltimore and DC. Other than that, they’ve just gone and passed away. Losing people has been my downfall. When you are around death all the time and you lose a family member, and you are already homeless, the struggle is harder. I’ve been circling around death all my life, but I’ve come to not so much embrace it; but I try to deal with it better now that I’m closer to God

I try to stay in contact with those that are still living; but Micah is a family where I didn’t have a family. I take that dearly to my heart. If it wasn’t for Micah I don’t know where I would have ended up at.  Micah has become a family to me because Micah has always been a mentor for me. They found me housing, where I’ve been for five or six years. I have a job with Micah working on the furniture truck. The furniture truck is for people that need furniture that donated to Habitat and Salvation Army and other places. We go in and take the old furniture out and put new furniture in. The other job is at the Cold Shelter, which houses people that don’t have housing like I was. 

I go back and give back to Micah because Micah has given back to me. God don’t want you to restore what you learn and what you get. He don’t want you to preserve it, he wants you to give back and to pass it on. This is my way of giving back to Micah, my family. 

I ain’t where I s’posed to be, but I ain’t where I used to be neither. It’s almost like I got a testimony.

I want to say to all the churches, I thank all the churches that I got to know on my journey when I was homeless. Now that I a’int homeless, I still go back to some of the churches and try to do things around the churches and let them know that even though I’ve come through my struggle, my struggle a’int over. I got to stay prayed up, hang around good people and hang around the churches to direct me in the right direction. I really mean that. 

It really makes a difference for an unhoused neighbor to spend their first night in their new house with essentials that make their house a home. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore serves as a clearinghouse for people in the community who wish to donate gently used furniture. Items from Habitat are paired with new mattresses from Ashley/Trivett’s furniture. Furniture donations are accepted at the Re-Store, 2378 Plank Rd., Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm to 5pm.

Any time someone moves into housing, homeless service partners request items needed, and Habitat offers them free of charge. Volunteers from area churches pick up and deliver items to homes.

Cleaning supplies, pillows, trash cans, towels, sheets, shower curtains, kitchen and cookware, can be dropped off at the Micah Hospitality Center, 1013 Princess Anne St., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am to 2pm.

Fredericksburg’s downtown churches began their journey toward the vision for Micah Ecumenical Ministries almost 18 years ago. We’ve now been at this as many years as there are miles to the treacherous Jericho Road of the Good Samaritan story. Along the way, encounters with our neighbors’ suffering have taught us much about the home God envisions for humanity, and how we are called to take part.