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— It's easy to be a leftover one. "I don't do the things that I should do, or follow the instructions of the Bible," George admits, "but I know God knows what's in my heart. I know that to know and not to do what you know [is right], that's a sin in itself. It's one thing not to know, but I was raised in it.

"Satan puts so much temptation in your way, even when you know better, to keep you from following the right path. He knows what button to push. 'This person, he likes women, so I'll put women in front of him. This one here, he likes money, so I'll put a nice job in front of him where he'll be busy working and won't have time to think about Christ or think about saving his own soul.' He does that, and he does it rather well."

His own weakness, he confesses, is for women, women who invariably seem to lead him "down some destructive path." Before coming to San Diego, George lived with a woman for ten years, helping to raise her two kids, until he discovered she was having an affair. "It's a woman who brought me to this [homelessness]. I didn't do it all on my own, but I allowed her to do it, so I can't blame it on nobody but me."

George didn't go to church last Christmas, but he has been down to St. Stephen's a couple of times recently. "My mom always said, always, she said, 'Never forsake the assembly of the saints.' That's something real to me, and that's why I try to go. It seems like when I do go, afterwards, it's like a whole weight has been lifted off me. I can think, I can focus. God lifts it off me and says, 'Okay, I'll give you a fresh start today, without all these things crushing on you.' "

Though he is not estranged from his family, George has not called them for help. "My family has never seen me like this," he explains, adding that he has been working and supporting himself since he was 16. He says he'll call when he gets back to work. "I called at Thanksgiving, and that was surprising. No one came home. In a way, it makes me feel like they're in the same shape I am."

When I ask about his plans for Christmas, he says, "I hear they're hiring at Point Loma Convalescent. I worked there in '96, and I think I'm gonna go back there. I just wish I could find any kind of job right now -- sweeping floors, I don't care. I went down to the Social Security office today to get me another Social Security card since I lost all my ID. That happens out here; people steal your stuff."

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