Reflections: Homelessness & Holiday Seasons
“They had good, stable jobs – until the recession hit. Now they’re living out of their cars in parking lots. The sharp, sudden decline of America’s middle class… ” Jeff Tietz
Have you ever been homeless or found yourself in a situation where you felt invisible? Every time I see a homeless person or a panhandler, I try to imagine what got them there. The few times I’ve had a chance to speak with any of them, their stories were as varied as yours and mine. All have not fallen on hard times because of drugs. All are not able to help themselves get the requisite care. Today, my dear blog friend Kozo, wrote a powerful article, Parenting Tips from a Homeless Man, that stopped me in my tracks and brought this subject to the fore. As we go about our holiday preparations and joyful celebrations, we must stop and consider those who won’t be able to sit in a warm room with friends and family. What have you planned to do for the homeless? For charity?
If you get Rolling Stone magazine, you might have read the riveting interview/story on homelessness by Jeff Tietz. The article “The Fallen,” walks us through the ever-changing, shift-shaping lives of several people; families, elderly, young folk coping with homelessness. These are people from all walks of life whose worlds unraveled when they lost their homes, jobs, emotional support system, and perhaps their mental stability. As Jeff put it, “They had good, stable jobs – until the recession hit. Now they’re living out of their cars in parking lots. The sharp, sudden decline of America’s middle class… ” They struggle but hold on to the hope for change.
In the midst of all that pain and suffering, profound changes can occur. Some find new homes, new ways of handling the shame, new meanings about life, about people, and above all, about themselves. On the surface much might not change but on the inside, many are forlorn and crave human connections and conversations, many have shifted their attitude and their thinking and make the effort to change their circumstances; on the inside, some can while others have mental health issues that stand in their way. We can be a beacon of light by helping to direct them to available services and lending an ear and some help. What would you do differently?…
“The challenge to people like me is, how do you use your capabilities and resources to help support things that are important to you, whether it’s the arts or education or homelessness?” Brian Moynihan
In Parenting Tips from a Homeless Man, Kozo covered so many important facets of homelessness that most people don’t consider when they see a person begging for money on the street. In my reply to his post, I mentioned that the point he made that struck a powerful chord with me was “nurturing relationships.” When we think about it,our relationships are the foundation to everything else we experience. Quite often, people on the street have been abandoned by loved ones who no longer want to hear their “story.” They are lied to, scoffed at and ignored. It’s a hard pill to swallow even for anyone with their ego intact. His post brought tears to my eyes because I know someone who is in the throes of homelessness and has family that won’t help. You must read his post.
If there’s anything we truly need to teach our children, it is that, no matter what, family connections are vital to survival. We must let them know that they will always have a place to rest their heads; even if it means that everyone sleeps on the floor.
“There are five issues that make a fist of a hand that can knock America out cold. They’re lack of jobs, obesity, diabetes, homelessness, and lack of good education.” will.i.am
There are so many reasons behind homelessness. Some have had mental issues, abusive relationships or financial hardships, whilst others had suffered a gamut of life events that included, for several of them, drugs. But does that justify the disdain with which some in our society sometimes treat them? This might not come to you as a surprise, but every time I’ve spoken to a homeless person, they have appreciated the contact; the connection to someone who stopped to say hello.
The next time we see a homeless family, an elderly person alone, a panhandler on the street, let’s take a moment to say hello. Even “How are you today?” would do. A little change or a simple blessing will suffice … and you will see the glint of gratitude, the humanity in their eyes. Our simple act of acknowledgment reminds them that not everyone pretends they are invisible… For once, you and I will spare them from that pernicious tornado they hide within … the stigma of poverty and invisibility. Thank you!
What are your thoughts? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were homeless or felt invisible? Do share. Thank You! 🙂
Stay Inspired! What are your thoughts? Do share! Thank you.
Positive Motivation Tip: Help others to enjoy the season of joy.
Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Mirth and Motivation