Sunday, October 17, 2010



"Oz is dead"


"Oz.  He used to sleep over there. He's dead"

R pointed out the pillar next to his wheelchair.  R's friend, Oz, died a week ago.  

It was getting dark.  The lights in Nathan Phillip Square flickered on.  Like a light bulb that's going to burn out.  R took a puff from his cigarette.  

"Yeah, he died.  Just like that.  They came and took him away."


A few weeks ago at church, A came up to me:

"Hey Cliff, you know R?  I worried about him.  I went to Nuit Blanche and we were hanging around at Nathan Phillip Square.  The place was packed and was very loud. I didn't see R.  I hope he is ok. Let's go and see him."

[Nuit Blanche is an art event in downtown Toronto.  It is held at night and the streets are filled with different art performances.]

A is a good kid.  He is only in highschool and have such a heart for the poor.  Last year he heard that I was hanging out at downtown sharing meal with the homeless, he asked if he could join me.  So we went a few times.  I shared with him how God mold me through this process.  I introduced him to R.  This year, with what's happening at church, I didn't had a chance to go visit R.  I decided to serve in Mississauga more.

Hearing his enthusiasm, I saw a chance to share a ministry together.  Sure why not.   Though my schedule is busy, I need to focus on things that matter most.  That is the Great Commission.  Besides, what I am busy, in most case, ain't that important anyways.


R mumbled.  I leaned closer.  The smell of cigarette filled my nose.

Oz was R's friend.  They had been living at Nathan Phillip Square for a few years now.  R really enjoyed Oz's accompany.  Though they both live on the street, they respected each other.

"Oz was great.  He always make a light out of everything.  You know our situation.  You don't want someone who is always down and negative.  We use to talk about Blue Jays and he always rave about the New York Yankees."

R missed Oz a lot.  

One of the nights last week, Oz was puking at night.  R thought Oz ate something wrong.  Later the night, Oz was slouch on the ground.  R thought he passed out so he just let him be.  Later the night, R went to touch him and try to get him up. Oz was  stiff as a board.

R took out a piece of scrap paper.  R is a poet.  He wrote a poet dedicated to Oz.   He recited. Me and A listened.  

It was nice seeing R again.  I am glad A asked me to go.  Or else I would be too busy to go. 

Before we headed out, I asked R if there's anything he need.  He needed a new leather jacket.


Tonight I had the opportunity to share my testimony with at a youth fellowship.  I talked about R and Oz.  I talked about the rich and the poor.  And how the poor were often neglected in our society.  Sadly, Oz was an example of that.  In one of the richest place in Toronto, we had a man dying out in the street. Though the world might not know or care about Oz, R does. I am sure our heavenly Father cared as well.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

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