Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 3)

It’s Thursday, January 31st, around 5 PM, and I’m running to a meeting when my wife texts me: “I need u to come home and help me”.

I step out and call her.  I can’t hear a thing she’s saying, but I get the point: stressful day, I’m needed.  Now.

I step back into the meeting, apologize, and run to my office.  I remember that I’m ready to publish a post about the prior week’s experience with Dave, who is 41 years old and homeless (see part 1 here, part 2 here).

I wrote the post while flying home from Vegas.  On the flight, I decided to try something that weighed on my heart: asking you to get involved.

I felt that asking you to help Dave get his ID, and providing him a gift of a night in a hotel would touch his heart.  This is why I included an “ask” at the bottom of the post, being faithful to the prompting but unsure of what to expect.  I connected the “ask” to a PayPal account, and configured it to allow donations of any size.

But my wife needs me, so I set the post to auto-publish at 5:30, and make a mad dash down the stairs.

I get home.  My wife is feeling overwhelmed with work (her first week back after a 9 month maternity break).  Plus, I’ve been out of town for three days.  Abby’s been a handful.  We talk, and things calm down a bit.

At 6:44, I remember I haven’t promoted the post, so I make a few status updates on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  I feel a little self-conscious about asking you to help, but I’ve learned this discomfort is usually a good sign.

At 7:19, a $50 donation comes in.  I can’t believe my eyes.

By Saturday morning, $176 rolls in.  What the…? Read more of this post

Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave (Part 2)


Starbucks: Our agreed upon meeting place

I arrived at Starbucks at 8:20, 10 minutes earlier than agreed upon.  I parked and started pacing.

At 8:30, it occurred to me to check inside Starbucks, but not finding Dave, I left and continued searching the parking lot.  As the minutes rolled by, I wondered if Dave had a change of heart.

Then, out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone rounding the outside of the building.

It was Dave, waving a newspaper and smiling.  “Sorry, my alarm clock didn’t go off,” he said, quickening his pace.  “No problem, glad you could make it!” I replied, making our way to the car.

It never occurred to me that homeless people wake up to an alarm clock. Read more of this post

Elizabeth: Homeless, But Not Voiceless

Elizabeth: This is me outside of Mary's Kitchen in Orange.

Elizabeth: This is me outside of Mary’s Kitchen in Orange.

My earlier posts about spending time with Dave, 41, who lives under a bridge in Santa Ana, and J (who lives under the same bridge), have generated a lot of feedback.

I’m overwhelmed by your response, and see that many of you have a heart for the homeless.

Their stories seem to reach you in a tender spot.

Earlier today, Elizabeth contacted me via Facebook.

I’ve never met her, but she sent me a message that I found powerful and moving (included with her permission in its entirety below).

At present, she’s homeless — but certainly not without a voice.  

In her own words … Read more of this post

Costa Mesa Homeless: My Time With Dave

I faced a choice: an older gentleman with a Santa-like beard, or a younger guy standing in the same place I met J a few weeks back (click here to read about that).  I decided on the younger guy.

Harbor Boulevard

Costa Mesa’s Harbor Boulevard, where I’ve met many new friends.

Aware that I might seem threatening, I took off my sunglasses, pulled my hands out of my pockets, and walked over.

He looked in my direction when I stepped off the curb.  This is always the point where my insecurities start flying.

He probably doesn’t want to talk to you” or “Just leave him alone, you don’t have anything to offer.” Read more of this post

What’s The Difference Between You and J?

This is where I met J.

This is where I met J.

As I hugged him, I could see he was crying.  He kept saying, “Man, I’m so tired.  I’m really just so tired…I just want to rest.”

All I could think of to say was, “I know.  It’s ok.  I know.

But really, I’m lying. I have no idea.

And so do very few of the people passing us on either side, as they make their way to and fro within the Target parking lot.  For a brief moment, I forget about them, and what they might be thinking, as I just let this man cry.

In an hour and a half, this 44-year old man I’ll call “J” shared his story with me.  Of how little by little, he crept closer and closer to the streets, until finally he found himself living under a bridge in a nearby city. Read more of this post

Is the Christmas Story Based on a Lie?

Friends from the Middle East are some of the kindest, most accommodating and hospitable people I’ve met. I don’t know if this is true of everyone from the region, but many have told me this attitude is intentionally cultivated within their culture.

So here’s what doesn’t add up about the Christmas Story: the innkeeper’s response.

Sorry, there’s no room.  Not tonight.

Really? For a pregnant woman about to give birth?

From a culture that so highly esteems hospitality, this seems odd.

Mike Erre suggests the reason is because gossip about how Mary’s baby was conceived preceded her. In those days, her claims would have raised eyebrows and cast Jesus as a “mamzer”. The Septuagint translates the term mamzer as son “of a prostitute” and the Latin Vulgate translates it as “born of a prostitute”.

In English, it is translated as “bastard”.

So what if the town’s people (including the innkeeper) turned Mary and Joseph away, not because of a lack of space, but because they did not want to associate with a bastard?

Although there is no biblical proof for this notion, does the idea make you feel differently about the Christmas Story?

Rosendahl Family 2012 Highlights

Sarah wrote a wonderful year-end summary, highlighting a number of 2012’s memorable events.  What a year it has been!  Here is her summary along with some inline comments from me [like this].   Leave us your thoughts in the comments.  Much love!   Read more of this post

John Rosendahl: 1955 – 9/1/2012

John Rosendahl, UCI

12/8/12: My Uncle’s Memorial

On September 1st, 2012, as I enjoyed a lazy Saturday morning in bed playing with my 4 month old daughter, we received news that my uncle had committed suicide, somewhere around 3:30 AM PT. Read more of this post

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