I’ve made a friend. Like so many homeless people in our nation or in our communities, this friend watches out for people experiencing homelessness. He is homeless himself. By day he patrols the streets to be sure that the rest of those living on the streets are safe. He keeps them safe by bringing them food, by bringing them an extra blanket and by checking in on them to see if they are ok. By night he sleeps in a stairwell: the place he calls “my bed.”
One of the services that he performs is writing poetry; poetry that helps the world understand the experience of being homeless. I’d like to share some of his words with you now.
In the early 2000’s, homelessness was at an all time high. Basically we were just out there trying to survive, trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents for a pack of cigarettes or something to eat. Most of us were just everyday citizens. We camped out in the woods in groups of two or three….
They are fencing in all the buildings and storefronts so that we have essentially no protection from the elements. They keep enforcing the “no loitering” law. I want to know if there is going to be a a loitering law in Heaven? After all, we are only God’s people. I don’t feel like I should be shunned out of society just because I don’t have money. My wants and needs are not as extravagant as those of the rich man, but my needs and values are just as important…..
Here is someone reaching out and asking, do you see me? Do you value me? Do you understand that my needs are as important as yours? He does not want to take anything from you or me. All he asks is that he has a few simple things: Food. Shelter. Safety. Kindness. Understanding. Love.
You’ll know him when you see him, he’s pushing a shopping cart, or wearing an odd assortment of clothes, or looking really skinny, or perhaps talking to himself as he drags his bag full of belongings around town. He is every man experiencing homelessness, every man who deserves to have his basic needs met, every man who deserves to feel valued and worthy, every man, every woman, every child of God.