i've been thinking about that message this evening.
i could stop writing tonite and not many would take notice. some would for a day or two and then like so many blogs or websites, this one too would be forgotten, only remembered when someone pulled up a google search with keywords that happen to direct them here. they'd glance at it and realize this wasn't what they were looking for and then move on. twitter...well...that's another story. other than being relieved that i'm not there to tweet incessantly about the poor and the homeless i'd be forgotten before the sun set the next day. for a time people might run across my name on a timeline or a retweet but that too would soon vanish. oh, there would be tweets about the homeless and poverty and the poor and hunger. those issues aren't going anywhere soon. they were right, someone else would come along and pick up the cause until they tired of it or they found another cause to champion. so i had to ask myself the same question they asked me,why am i doing this.
i think my answer would be...because i can.
i can tell you what it's like to know that you may become homeless. i can tell you how it feels when all your options are gone and you realize that you are homeless. i can tell you what it's like to enter a mission for the first time and know that you may be there for awhile. i can tell you what it's like to speak to, speak about and listen to the homeless. i can tell you what it's like to begin to understand what few people really do...that the homeless aren't the stereotypical images that people think of when they envision a person without a home. i can because i've seen the pain, the joy, the heartache, the loneliness, the sadness, the frustration, the fear, the anger, the stupidity and the wisdom of the homeless. i've seen the eyes of a homeless child. i've watched a mother hold her children, knowing they were going to sleep in a shelter that nite. i can because i've seen the failure of a social and economic system that would allow homelessness and poverty and hunger to exist in this country. i've seen eldery men and women with little hope shining in their eyes struggle thru another day. i've seen the indifference of people on the street toward the homeless. i've seen people look away. i've seen people not want to know. i can.
i can do something else also. i can tell you of the people who genuinely try to help the homeless and expect nothing in return. i can tell you of employees of the friendship house and the sunday breakfast mission and hundreds of places like these across the country, who despite all their faults and miscues do help the homeless day after day after day. i can tell you of their compassion, their frustration and their never ending faith in believing they are doing something good for another human being. i can tell you of random acts of kindness...not from what i've read on the internet....but from what i've seen with my own eyes. i've seen pure goodness from these people whose intent is only to help and ease the burden of the homeless, if only for a short time . i've seen it, i've witnessed it, i've been a beneficiary of it.
i can do one other thing. i can also tell you what the homeless don't need, what they aren't, what they can be and what they do need. i can tell you because i've lived, walked, and survived among them. not for a nite, not for a week, but for months upon months....day after day....week after week...heartache after heartache....joy after joy. i can also voice loudly my opinion on issues such as housing, jobs and other related topics...but i'll let that be still for now.
i can....because i was...because i still am homeless. even when this homeless issue ends for me, i think a part of me will always be homeless now. it's like being in a war or losing someone close to you tragically and unexpectedly. you move on...but you never quite move past it. it follows you. you are aware of it. you can feel it. you know it's there...waiting. it can happen anytime...anywhere...to anybody.
so why do i do it? if not me...who? I can..and I will....for awhile longer....at least for today
see you around town