One could learn a lot from a homeless person especially if that person is you!
|For several weeks, I have seen this seemingly old man with his cane walk past my porch. One morning as I was backing out of the driveway, I thought to ask where he was going and if I could give him a ride. He accepted.
His hair had not been taken care of in ages. His clothes were dirty, smelly, and he smelled too high hell. Of course, his teeth were crusty, and his breath was awful. The list of his downfall could fill this page, but you get the picture.
I asked him where he was going, and he said to Queenstown. I said, not a problem, I am going that way -- about five minutes from my house. Being the talker that I am, I asked where he lived and a million other questions.
Here is what I learned. The first words out of his mouth were he had been in prison for a long time and hadn't been able to get back on his feet. He was thankful that someone in Mount Rainier continues to allow him to sleep on their porch. He gets about $400 a month, and his health is bad. He just lives from day to day and hopes that he can continue to sleep on that front porch!
Listening to him, I felt aggrieved that such homelessness exists in Mount Rainier. I was extremely proud of that neighbor that allows him to sleep on the front porch. I thought about the ex-offender program that I ran in Baltimore. I questioned the belief that once you "pay" for your crime on society, you could return and be a part of it again. My mind just went off!
I know that this man (a human creature created by God) was not the only one in Mount Rainier or our society. This man was broken. He was at his wit's end and had completely given up. But he was more than that. He was surviving! He was not angry. He was not lazy. He was just another person in a world that left him with nothing. (Okay, I am not debating how he got to where I met him or the merits of his position. I am simply pointing out that he is someone's son, brother, maybe father or brother, and at this moment in time, he is sleeping on someone's porch!)
Here is the comparison that came to my racing mind. Most of the people I know live in a house, an apartment, a condo, a townhouse, or other living quarters. We pay thousands in rent or mortgages. We sleep in a warm bed, sofa, air mattress, or whatever we have been blessed with! This man sleeps on someone's porch, and he is thankful!
He walks to where ever he is going on a cane. He knows that he will only get $400 a month to cover his life's needs, and he is grateful to be alive. His health is failing him, and even if given a job, more than likely, he would not be able to perform the duties required. Still, he loves Mount Rainier, the kind minister at one of the churches, and the neighbor that allows him to sleep on his front porch!
This homeless man has almost nothing, and he is thankful for everything he has and is not complaining about his plight. So, what is my problem? Why am I complaining about so many things in my life -- things that I put into motion at some point in time and now must address?
As the homeless man got out of my car, he turned around and said, thank you so much for the ride. It meant a lot to me. Have a blessed day. I was too through. Pluck me, I was done. I was at "Lord, what can I do to change this world, my City, where I live?" I was in pain.
I had to ask myself about my life's journey and whether or not I was wasting it. Yep, I have done a lot. I have worked with ex-offenders, and I am proud of all the accomplishments during that part of my journey. I have worked with families of domestic violence, and I know my time there made a difference. My time in the City of Mount Rainier has definitely impacted the lives and welfare of most residents, but what did I do for those like this homeless person who lives in the shadows of the great little City of Mount Rainier.
In fifty-two years in Mount Rainier, never once did I focus on the homeless issue. It was not in my face. I listened to residents complain about people hanging out at the bus stop, sleeping on the benches at the bus stop, or abandoned houses, but I never grasped the magnitude of this issue within our City borders.
This man made me question my priorities and the next part of my journey through this life. Why am I wasting my journey? How do I move to the next portion of my journey, and is this the issue I should take up in Prince George's County?
Sometimes it does not require a mountain to land on you to wake you up, but there is a requirement to act once awoke!
Where are you on your journey? Are you awake? Or are you wasting your trip?
Peace and blessings to you and yours now and always!