Tuesday, September 8, 2009


"The Lord carries me in the palm of his hand." ~Robby

I met this gentleman while walking across the Waco Suspension Bridge. Jake and I were checking out the scenery and taking some photos (because that's what I'm doing most of the time) when he passed by, using a cane, and said in a quiet voice, "I don't get along very fast, but I get along." To which I replied, "You are doing a fine job of getting along."
He turned back towards me. That's when I met Robby. I extended my hand to shake his, told him my name and asked his. Robby. Simply Robby. He assured me that anyone around the streets of Waco would know who I was speaking of if I mentioned the name Robby. In our 20 minute conversation, these are things I learned about Robby.

He is a Marine. He is one of 9 children, 4 brothers and 4 sisters. One of his brothers is in the Air Force, another in the Navy. He doesn't know where the rest of his siblings are. He attends Church Under the Bridge. His grandfather lived to be 115 years old. When the grandfather was 113 years old, he married an 18 year old and that's what kept him alive the last two years. (We shared a chuckle) When he was 4 years old, he was sent to the Methodist Children's Home. He lived there until he was 17. Robby is a convicted felon; aggravated assault. Says he should have killed the man, but in having to answer to The Man (pointing toward Heaven), he knew it was against the Commandments. Robby can quote the Ten Commandments. He fell off of a rope bridge over the Brazos River and had to have a steel rod put in his back. Robby is homeless. While in Vietnam, one of his hips was blown out and he had to have it replaced. He has friends, true friends, all over, including Tennessee. He has steel plates in his face and one in his head. If he had lots of money, he'd give it to the Methodist Children's Home. He never wants to hurt anybody, but said "Sometimes you gotta do..." Robby had to fight in the Home and on the streets. He is friendly with the police officers and park workers in that area. They respect him. He could write a book, but there are things he could never put in writing, so his story will die with him. Robby is a survivor.

These are some of the things I learned about Robby. He wanted to talk and I wanted to listen. In all honesty, I could have sat down on that bridge and listened to Robby for a very long time.

And twice, cupping his hand, Robby said, "The Lord carries me in the palm of his hand."

He bid us farewell and instructed me to "Get that boy something to eat and something cold to drink."

It was my pleasure to meet Robby. And I'm sure it was no accident.



Liv said...

Kudos to you for not dismissing Robby as just another homeless person, but listening to his story and making him feel valued. We all just want to be heard! I suspect you gave him a wonderful gift simply by letting him tell his story.

Aaron said...

(looking to see if Robby has wings)

janet said...

Beautiful! There's a reason for everything.

StaceKir said...

People are fascinating, aren't they? Robby's experiences and appearance may not fit what mainstream culture identifies with a success but he is unique, genuine, marching to his own beat. Thank god we are not all the same . . . how boring would that be?