Mrs. Jeannette Thompson also went to the local police station to see if it were true that the police were looking for Bobby. “Ma’am – I told you twice already there is nothing on file for a Bobby Hendricks.” The Desk Sargent was a disagreeable man and he was becoming more agitated. “Not even as a missing person?”, she asked. “No ma’am – there – is – no – thing – in – our – data – base.” He said it slow on purpose, with a sarcastic tone. She decided to come back another day and talk to a different Desk Sargent, someone who would treat her like a human being.
The next day the information was the same. In the eyes of the police, Bobby Hendricks did not exist. That was good in a way, but why was he not listed as a missing person? Was it a computer problem? Was someone not doing their job? Did his Aunt and her husband report him as missing? She had no idea. One thing she knew for sure though, was that this was big, and she needed to pray about it. What was she supposed to do now?
She normally prayed at home, but this time she went to the church instead. She felt she needed extra help. Something was weighing on her, there was something she was supposed to do, but she was not sure what it was. As she walked in the front door of the church, she stopped at the picture on the wall of Mother Mary holding the Christ Child. It was becoming clearer now. She needed to be more of a mother to Bobby. She hurried to a pew and knelt down.
As she prayed she realized she had been holding back. She was trying to be his friend, but was she loving him? Or was she just trying to ease her conscience by being nice, and giving him food? Where was her commitment? And why on God’s green earth did she not get him off the streets? The answer struck her squarely in the head, and went down into her heart. Fear. It was all because of fear. If she loved him the way a Mom would, he might break her heart by stealing from her, or dying out on the streets. She was afraid, and she began weeping. She did not want to be this way, and realized she must ask him to stay at her house. She needed to open her house and her heart. It took courage, but she decided that she would ask him today.
She went through the neighborhood looking for him, and saw him coming out of the library. She asked him if he would like to come to her house, and would he like to stay there? His face lit up, he smiled, and said, “Sure!”. Later, in her living room, her with a cup of tea, and him with a bottle of soda, she asked him about the library.
He told he loved going there and reading. He went there all the time, though now nobody moved away from him, when he sat down. There was no more bad smell! His favorite subject was history. He loved history with a passion, and right now he was studying how the poverty of 18th century France had caused the French Revolution. Mrs. Thompson choked on her tea, and lost some of it to her living room rug. She had no idea he was this intelligent!
His other passion was studying Native Americans. He loved everything about them, but especially how they were so connected to the earth and nature. As he was sharing about their culture, she saw how he loved adventure, and smiled, thinking, “He probably knows about every tribe in North America”.
Jeannette Thompson became a mighty warrior in the battle against poverty. She opened her home not only to Bobby but a number of children over the years. Right after Bobby started living with her, she also took in a single mother that was seventeen, and had a three year old daughter. She had also recently defeated an addiction to cocaine. She needed a warm and safe place to live. Mrs. Thompson was like a mother to all of them.
She also inspired the church to take action. The church began opening its doors to the community, and especially during the winter, when people needed to get out of the cold at night. It was warm and safe.
The kitchen was expanded, and modernized. Men and women of the church formed what they called “Team Hope”, and served a good hot meal every day. The people of the church were not perfect, but over time they learned how to not judge people, to have compassion, and love people instead.
As for Bobby, he is trying to decide what college he will go to, and should he be a professor of history, or an anthropologist studying early Native Americans, or maybe….both?
The proudest moment of his life was yet to come, and was when he stood on stage graduating from St. Timothy’s Catholic High School. He saw his Mom (Jeannette Thompson) with hands raised high, looking at heaven and thanking God for this wonderful miracle. Both of their spirits soared high that day.
Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree