When an ambitious young photographer named Leslie laid eyes on what appeared to be a deserted old home, she thought it would be the perfect addition to her #abandoned photography collection.
The overgrown yard, caving roof and cluttered interior made it a prime candidate for her project. She was sure that nobody could be living there based on its condition—but when she walked inside, Leslie realized that she wasn’t alone after all.
Little did she know, she was about to meet a man that would change her life forever. “The best day of my life was when I met him,” wrote Leslie of the day she met Lawrence. Read her remarkable Instagram journey below that details her experience in living color, starting from the day she unexpectedly came face-to-face with one of the greatest old souls the world has ever known.
“This is Lawrence. He lives in a house I had believed to be abandoned. The driveway is overgrown, the roof is caving in and the interior would lead anyone to believe this land had been deserted. I found him in the living room. He has a hard time getting around so he spends most of his time in there. Alone. He is missing his right eye and has cataracts infecting the left. Even after noticing a stranger essentially helping themselves to his life he was nothing but sweet and kind to me. He was even nice enough to let me take his picture which I will always treasure. He is a beautiful soul and I plan on visiting him a lot. I’m posting this picture in hopes that it will inspire at least one person to reach out to someone they may have lost contact with or perhaps just forgot about. These old souls are still full of life and I feel blessed to have met this one.”
“Tonight was the first of what will be many dinner dates with my new friend. Over the course of 3 hours we ate and drank and laughed. I was fortunate enough to hear about his life.. His struggles and his triumphs. This truly was one of the best experiences of my life & I can’t wait to share another meal with such a gentle soul.”
“The house that stole my heart – this is the exterior of my new friends home. Tonight we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful evening. He explained to me how his injuries started in 2000 when a bull fractured his hip. He told me of his brothers illness and how they have lost touch. He said I was a blessing to him. I told him I couldn’t put into words what he means to me.”
“Dinner dates done right | Keep your promises”
“Lunch with a friend.”
“Promises kept. || an update on my friend – he is in good spirits and is very happy to have some room in his home. I’ve managed to remove his old fridge, stove, and chest freezer, along with numerous bags of garbage and other content. This was all made possible by a very generous company and a few awesome boys with big hearts and strong lower backs. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support and generosity during this period in my life – and in his. He is beyond grateful, not just to me. He knows you are all following his story 🙂 After a few recent visits to the doctors, it’s apparent that his health is declining, rapidly. These may be the last few months I have with my friend and I plan to make them as comfortable and enjoyable for him as possible. He’s informed me of his funeral arrangements and has asked me to be there. I told him I wouldn’t have it any other way. He shared something with me that will stay with me forever. He said the day I showed up was the best day of his life. As self righteous as I feel writing that, I understand how he feels. The best day of my life was when I met him. He gave me the chance to really do something for someone – an act of kindness with no expectation of reward. It’s a rare opportunity and I’m glad I was able to accept the challenge. – xo”
“Update: A few weeks ago my friend asked if I would go to a church BBQ with him … Our first outing!!! I was so happy he had asked me and couldn’t wait to go. Tonight was our dinner date … The food was amazing .. Provided by the local farmers in the neighbourhood and way too much pie baked by all their lovely wives. It was great to see him out of the house and around the people he’s known his whole life. Driving home tonight I couldn’t help but think to myself how lucky I am to have this opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful persons life. My friend is truly a blessing xo”
“Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about this handsome fella so I figured I’d give everyone following his story an update. After a prolonged stay at two different hospitals after his last stroke, Lawrence is now living at a local retirement home and doing much better. He’s safe and warm and seems to be fairly happy to be around some new people, although I know he misses home. I bring my dog Violet with me when I go for my visits, and she has now become a favourite around the home and she seems to enjoy herself thoroughly (indulging in yet another cookie as seen above). His birthday is coming up shortly (Valentines day) and we can’t wait to celebrate with him, properly… With less pastry for the puppy.”
It’s astounding how richly our lives can be blessed when we dive head first into the story of a stranger. Staying inside our bubbles may be easy, but at the same time suffocating.
What would happen if we all reached outside of our own comfort zones into the “abandoned” houses of the world? What treasures we may find behind these unknown doors…
Who will be your Lawrence today?