As I walk in, I am nervous. It is my first time at the Good Shepard Men's Shelter. Our directors had explained what it was like and what we would be doing. Simply sitting and talking with people at the morning drop in. This did not seem simple to me. Questions started furiously running through my head. Will anyone want to talk to me? What if we don't have anything to talk about? I quickly start praying for strength and courage from God to make this fast. As we went in we each got a cup of coffee or tea and then started looking around. My fellow hosts seemed to fall in easily. The fear starts to run through me again.
I look around quickly and spot an older gentleman sitting alone at a table. I walk up and say hi with a smile and ask if I may sit with him. He reluctantly says yes and looks at me with bewilderment. I am already thinking this was not the table for me. I introduce myself and he follows saying his name is John. I slowly start the conversation thinking to myself how much he looks like my grandfather. His pants are too big and his shirt is much too large.
As the conversation continues it begins to flow. I find out that he has cats and he goes on and on about them. I can see the joy across his face as he tells me their names and what they like to eat. We talk about why I am here and what I am doing in Toronto. We talk about his wife that passed and how he never had any children. And then the hour is up. It has flown by faster than I can imagine and I am wishing that I had another hour to sit and talk with this man.
Little did I know that I would see John again. I see him about once a week at different sites all over the city. We sit and talk about his cats and what he has been doing since the last time I saw him. I have build more relationships just like this that I never would have dreamed of. I know that God placed me at the table to meet John that day, and I know that He gave the strength and courage that has helped me push out of my comfort zone this summer. I am so thankful for this and cannot wait to see what the rest of the summer has to offer.
-Laura Fryman, CSM Toronto Summer 2009 City Host