Driving down the streets over the years it has become so very obvious that homelessness has continued to rise at a rapid rate. Men, Women, Teens and Children, all with a story. I don’t believe that there are many that are choosing this lifestyle, but rather a choice of theirs that went wrong, a choice of someone else that went wrong, abuse and addiction are part of many of their stories. My heart breaks and then I get this overwhelming sense of panic, I don’t know what to do!
Here’s some honesty for you…… I get I scared too. What am I scared of? How much of that is from stories I’ve heard, or too many movies and how much of it is a gut feeling? Truthfully, I don’t have a clue. Just because someone is wearing a dirty jacket doesn’t mean they are any less trustworthy than a guy in a suit and tie, right? “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. So true, but in life we still have caution to be engaged no matter when, but when does it become judgement?
A lot of questions hey? Here is where this is coming from.
My daughter is in a hospital that services many of the people who live in the life of addiction, abuse, lack of housing, and so on. In the past month I have had many conversations in elevators or cafeteria with some of these folks. One such fellow came up to me and asked that I buy him a coffee. I said sure and gave him 2 toonies thinking he might like a muffin too, he grabbed the money and ran! I was so, so sad that he felt he had to run from me all over a couple of toonies. He left the cafeteria so fast and the lady that worked there said ” It happens all the time. They come in to hospital because something is wrong and still beg for money”. I walked away fighting tears. What was his story? Had he ever known anything else?
Some might think me a “do gooder” others might think me “judgemental” , I was just sad. I knew I could pray for him and did. I am not the person with a personality that is meant to work on the streets, I have been told that. I have been told by others who have that ability that I would be an easy target because I believe everything and want to fix everyone. That my heart would be enabling, not helping with “my need” to fix them. I thought that was good? Apparently, I can’t fix anyone else’s life, my ill daughter or a stranger who lives on the streets. What I have decided I can do is: pray because I believe God works in the lives of all of us no matter where we live or what our bank account looks like. I can donate to the food bank, or a shelter that has the ability and training to do the right things. And do my best to be authentic, not lame and vulnerable, but wise, caring and alert.
I was in the kitchen tonight with a fellow who has burns to his face. He was pretty sweet, cantankerous and miserable all in about 5 mins. The nurse talking to him knew just what to say, and turned what could have been an awkward situation into nothing at all. Working on the streets and with people who’s story has taken them to the streets requires a caring, disciplined, trained heart and mind to know how to help without enabling. To do what they can and know they can’t change the world, but for even a few minutes they can help the view this person see life through and maybe, just maybe it might be the light they need to change the way their story will end.
Written from a pondering mind, through a caring heart.
Hugs n Prayers