Living Simply

I was really psyched that my friend Lorenza stopped by last night and my daughters got to meet her.

Lorenza Andrade Smith journeys around North America, voluntrarily homeless, offering kindness and communion to the people she meets. She and I met after the United Methodist Communicators (UMAC) conference last fall. I’m glad she’s loving New York and its beautiful diversity. She has to leave NYC at 5 pm today, arriving in Texas two days later via Greyhound bus.

Lorenza inspires me because of her simplicity, her non-traditional life and her ease with people.

She travels with one backpack and one rolling cart.

photo by Catherine Jones

We talked about Facebook, (of course!). We talked about how we use our phones to take photos. Lorenza talked about having her iPhone stolen at a $3/day hotel in Mexico. We talked about not being able to find Cath’s iPhone somewhere in the house.

We looked at and laughed with Lorenza about her Facebook photo folder, “Tall People and Me.” She may be small in stature but she is a superstar to me.

We talked about camping. And how the kids and I are planning a camping trip to Fire Island in a couple of weeks. We have no idea what we’re doing. We wished she’d come camping with us. She invited us to camp with her on the streets.

After such a nice relaxing conversation, it was time for Lorenza to go. She wasn’t sure if she’d be sleeping again in Central Park. I wondered if Riverside Park might be better. In Central Park, the previous night, they’d turned on big lights and hustled people awake and into the middle of the night. Lorenza thought that was due to the Tony Awards nearby. But I think they do it all the time.

I walked her to the subway station where she was looking for a single woman she’d met earlier. (She can engage in conversations better with women when their men are not around.)

I felt sad to see her walk away from me. I worry about her. This is one problem (of the many) when you love people. You worry about them. (She said she worries about herself too.)

Not long after I returned home, Char said she liked hearing Lorenza’s stories. Even though the stories are not easy to hear — they are honest and inspiring. Stories are what keep us going.

Lorenza connects with people, sometimes by telling stories and sometimes just by listening and laughing.

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