Small Things: “They steal from me all the time,” he said while describing his life as a homeless man in Nashville. He slowed to catch his breath that came from his fragile frame and stated, “They took my medicine, it won’t get em’ high, they just took it because it was a drug.”
Ricky, who has lived in the Nashville area his entire life, has pancreatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. He continues to lose weight while living on the street. However, he is in line to receive housing in Davidson County.
Life has not always been hard on Ricky, “I worked for Rand McNally for 27 years and was married for 27 years.” He went on to say that he also has two grown children and four grandkids, which makes him smile.
However, it seems as if things took a turn for the worst at some point because he followed up that statement about work and marriage, “They both ended the same day along with the death of my father.”
Chronic Pancreatitis was the diagnosis that Ricky received from the doctor about 7 years ago. It is ongoing and causes upper abdominal pain that interferes with eating. “I ate this morning, but got sick,” he stated as he grabbed a hamburger from my truck. His diagnosis leads him to experience nausea, vomiting, back pain, malabsorption of food, weight loss and an increased heart rate.
“How did you get cirrhosis of the liver,” I asked. He then replied with a drag of his cigarette, “Drinking, 40 plus years.” Of course, the cirrhosis doesn’t help with the constant weight loss as it also causes a loss of appetite, fatigue and more.
Thanks to Greenhouse Ministries in Murfreesboro, I was able to give him a tent and a chair. Thanks to Barnabas Vision, I gave him water.
The chair and the hamburger are small things, along with the tent. But, for someone with nothing those small things are major hurdles, even if he gets into housing the next day. Those small items will keep him out of the rain, his stomach full and his legs rested – even if just for a day or two.
“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the everyday things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon.” - Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)