As much as I love to write, and often just feel words come out of my head, this one is tough. Sometimes, the words aren’t there. Or, there’s too many words, and they won’t go together right. This is one of those times.
Not like I have a deadline on this one. No newsroom is buzzing and time lines to meet. No space requirements or pages to fill. I don’t do that gig anymore.
But this man, Lucious, deserves some blogging. More than that, actually, but it’s the best I can do.
If there was ever a guy who was like Christ on Earth in 2008, it was Lucious Newsom. A guy who quit his job, moved to a town where he didn’t know a soul, and listened to God’s plan for him. That’s not something a lot of people have the faith to do.
God told him to go to Indiana and help the poor. They needed it, Lucious said, and it was his job to help.
So he went.
He told his wife he had to go and he left Tennessee. He started going to grocery stores and begging for food. Anything that was still good, but they were getting rid of, would work. Because it isn’t just at Thanksgiving when we feed the hungry. Lucious always said, “But, what are they going to eat tomorrow?”
And as people heard about what he was doing and were inspired by his acts, they joined, and The Lord’s Pantry was born, where folks could get some food, maybe help with an electric bill or some shoes for a little one starting school. At first it was a donated van, with “THE LORD’S PANTRY” painted on the side, and then Lucious’ work grew into Anna’s House, where the Pantry had a permanent home, and Lucious set up tutors and healthcare for folks who needed it. He helped battered women out of troubling relationships and helped those down on their luck to find work.
He told me once that he’d take pictures of prostitutes downtown to scare them away and out of the area. “Course,” he said, wearing his signature bib overalls, “there’s no film in the camera. But they don’t know that.”
See, Lucious didn’t have a lot himself. Didn’t need it.
“They can’t take Jesus from me,” he said once, when Anna’s House was vandalized during construction. “They can’t take Jesus out of MY heart, and that’s what matters.”
Sure enough, donors came through, for the second time, faith prevailed, and Anna’s House was born, just as Lucious knew God intended it.
My dad, Tim Hahn, was one of many influenced by Lucious. He’d get up early on Saturday mornings, helping to hand out food and take care of the needy and downtrodden.
And during the week, he’d filter calls from folks who were in trouble, who maybe thought Lucious could help them. He used to drive our old Toyota Tercel, nicknamed “Ms. Blue” by us, but “Mother Blue” by Lucious, and fill the trunk with groceries and hand them out. Maybe help a little kid shoot hoops, help a mother pay a light bill and find some formula for a baby.
Lucious was curious about what would happen to his people when God decided to send him home. His son was always wanting to take over his ministry, “But I tell him,” Lucious cautioned, “‘Son, it doesn’t pay.’ He doesn’t care.”
And I guess I should mention, Lucious was in his eighties when Tim got to know him, which was more than ten years ago. Tim wanted to take a Saturday morning off the day my brother got married, and he asked Lucious about it, saying he wouldn’t be available the following Saturday.
“Well,” Lucious asked, crunching some figures in his head, “What time is the wedding?”
At least on the north side of Indy, Tim’s carrying Lucious’ torch, organizing food donations, clothes, school supplies and paying electric bills as he remember’s Lucious kind touch and faithful heart. He does it, he says, because that’s what Jesus did.
Simple as that.
Never mind that a lot of the folks up in that area are Spanish speaking and the conversations can be confusing at times. Kindness is always translated easily.
We lost a kind, generous soul on Monday, as Lucious finally entered the gates of Heaven. It doesn’t seem fair that God could send us this awesome guy, who helped so many and inspired anyone who was blessed enough to know him, and then call him home, but it was God’s turn to reward him for his efforts.
Tim’s guess is that, as the angels went to get him, they asked him if he needed anything, adding, “it’s your turn, now.”
I have to agree. That’s a homecoming I would love to see.