John sitting outside Hobson House
It’s strange how we can lose our lives, without actually dying. This was my dilemma 3 years ago when I arrived in Nashville. Devastated by the sudden death of a loved one and in a state of dire depression, I got off the Greyhound bus carrying a small bag containing 2 shirts and 2 pairs of trousers. No money, no ID, no job prospects, no place to stay, no family, no friends . . . nothing. During the weeks following my arrival foolish pride and embarrassment prevented me from receiving much needed necessities, food, clothing and nightly shelter that various church groups and organizations offered. Unless someone personally approached me with food or clothing, I’d usually just go hungry.
A Vanderbilt researcher (who later became a good friend) discovered me sleeping near a bridge overpass one morning and decided to stop and chat. During our conversation, he concluded that given my eccentric nature, a slow and agonizing death was imminent. Over the next few weeks he brought food, water and began to search for temporary housing solutions.
In February of 2011, I was introduced to the director and staff of Open Table Nashville. They listened to my unusual circumstances and accepted me with open arms. Besides providing shelter, they assisted me with obtaining ID, food stamps, clothing, various work options and counseling. I was appointed an advocate, as are all the residents, who welcomed me and treated me like family. With the caring and compassionate help of Open Table Nashville, I’m back on the path of life.
Much gratitude to Ingrid McIntyre, Lindsey and Andrew Krinks, Lindsay White, Tiffany and Dawn Dale and the entire Open Table Nashville Staff.
– John McCarley