I’m Am Blind

I have been reading Daily Life in a Homeless Shelter for a little while now, and I even drove a transient lady to Dothan about a month ago so I thought I really sort of had a handle on this whole thing. I was way wrong.

We spent the day today with women at a shelter here in Nashville. It was an interesting sort of place with beds and meals, but no real place for the women to go inside. They just sort of hung out in the back inside of this fence with their stuff. But what struck me the most was the fact that these weren’t your typical homeless people–or at least not what my preconceived notion of homeless people was. These weren’t smelly drunk people who were out of their mind. These were senior adult ladies and mothers and people who looked and talked like me. Some of theme chose to live a transient sort of life, some were mentally challenged, some were addicted to something or other, but a great majority of them were just people who had caught a bad break or two at just the wrong time and ended up with no place to go. My eyes were opened to a whole new side of homelessness, a side that isn’t bum on the street, but “real” people struggling to get back on their feet.

Of course the thing that hit me the hardest were the children–the babies. I mean can you imagine growing up in that sort of place surrounded by people on the streets. It was overwhelming.

And then you look and try to find a way to help them and there are no easy answers. They have trouble getting jobs without transportation. They have trouble getting jobs because they have to travel with their suitcases in their hands. They have trouble getting jobs because their address is a homeless shelter and everyone knows it. So they sit all day and wait for meal time and wonder how to get out of the mess that they have found themselves in and even though they have more time to think about it they can’t think of easy answers either.

My heart breaks for them, but I don’t really know what I need to do to help. Our town ships off our homeless for others to deal with. I keep thinking about how James said that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans and how could I honestly call myself a follower of Christ if I never really helped the poor–I mean really helped more than just one week a year. Lord, I don’t know what I can do, but show me where I am needed! 

2 thoughts on “I’m Am Blind

  • June 8, 2006 at 10:42 PM

    Growing up in Mayfield, we were never really exposed to the homeless situation. I worked with a lot of shelters when I was in nursing school and it really makes you thankful for all the stuff we take for granted.

  • June 12, 2006 at 3:40 PM

    Understanding is the first step to helping. Then we need to ask ourselves what would Jesus do? What disturbes me is that the USA is a wealthy nation. If everyone that was able, helped out we wouldn’t have so many homeless families. We also need to look at how we who are called by God can help.This involes sacrifice. My family has started Sunday dinners were we invite many homeless recovering alcoholics. We just make a big pot of something and invite people over. (we make sure anyone who wants to come has transportation) We’ve also had different people live with us from time to time who had no place to go, and we have a small house with one bathroom. How will people know the love of Christ if we stay within our own safe Christian world? God has called us to love,and love is a verb. I challenge each of us to look beyond ourselves so that we may see the lost,the lonely, the people that Jesus would be hanging out with. It is difficult to love the unlovely, but that is exactly what Jesus did and does. How could we do any less?


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