Something about having a lot of contact with people who find shelter in public, who make a place for themselves on the streets—homeless people—is that you watch a lot of them die.
I learned this morning that my friend Jeff died early Sunday morning at one of our Safe Outdoor Space camps in Denver. Jeff was not much older than 65. He was one of the funniest, cleverest people I’ve ever known with a unique perspective on the world. He easily could have worked as a professional standup comic had his capacities been a little different. Jeff was smart as hell and he knew his way around a chess board, where kicked my ass whenever we played. I would make moves and he would just sigh and shake his head, “Oh, Logan.” Jeff was a kind, steady presence. He loved his friends and had patience and understanding for people around him even when he found them misguided or annoying.
Last time we spoke we got to talking about the Holy Spirit. He said, “I always thought about the Holy Spirit as the Holy ‘Way of Being.’’
I said, “Yeah like a connection to what’s real.”
He nodded, “Exactly. Not some ghost. Like the Truth.”
Maybe some of our street folks are connected so closely to what’s true that they look around at the way we construct reality and the tremendous gulf between the two causes such pain that they’re forced to take refuge wherever they can find it. I will miss Jeff. In so many ways, he was one of the good guys.