Have I ever told you about my safe haven? If I had, you would know where it is. But that is not what I want to talk about today. Someday I will tell you about it. For now, I want to talk about something else.
It’s getting on toward the end of October. The evenings are cooling down quickly and it is actually cold in the morning when I get up. Time to put that extra blanket on the bed. The holidays are just around the corner and the rain is not far behind.
Recently I went to visit a local shelter to meet with some people to discuss a program about coaching people to find a job. While there, I got to see the harsh reality of homelessness. Here is a small facility, one of a few in my area, trying to cater to the needs of a city with more than 160,000+ people. I was overwhelmed by the generosity I saw and the cohesiveness of the staff and residents.
After the visit and when I got home later that evening…I started to think about those who don’t have a place to go every night. I was overcome with sadness. Then I just felt very, very tired.
There are a number of homeless people who camp out or walk around the downtown area where my work. On one hand, it’s rather depressing and unsafe for me to be walking alone in the area. On the other hand, I feel sorry for these people because of the very same reasons. All over this city are men, women, children and sometimes their pets, camped out with all their worldly possessions. They are sleeping on sidewalks near the library, under bridges, beneath trees along the river and anywhere else they can find.
It breaks my heart to know that children (and pets) are outside in the cold and other elements with no place to be warm. I know it is not their fault. They have to live with the actions of their parents and subsequent consequences. It wasn’t their choice to live like this. But my thoughts keep leading me back to this question: Where is their safe haven? Who can they turn to when their parents let them down?
I guess it is up to the rest of us to help out. But there is only so much helping a person can do when the ones who you are trying to help don’t want the real help. Oh…don’t get me wrong, they are right there asking you for your change from your coffee run or for the food you just bought for your lunch. It just seems like they don’t want to get a job so they can feed their families or put a roof over their heads.
But is it right to deny them the basic necessities of life? Once again it all comes down to choice. We all have to make a choice in how we live…
So this year, my choice is to donate a turkey or two to the shelter who serves over 5000 meals at Thanksgiving. I will put some money in the little red buckets that stand next to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers. And, I will participate in the coaching program at that shelter so maybe, just maybe, one person will take what I have to offer in order to go out, get a job, and give their child a “safe haven” starting this holiday season.
***I have written this piece for a group on Facebook that I joined, GBE 2: Blog On. This is week #22 and the topic is Safe Haven. Interested in more…click on the picture below to take you there.