Homeless people! Many people look down on them, so that’s why I wanted to write about it just to give you all some real food-for-thought. Hopefully after reading this passage, you’ll have a change of heart if you’re one of those people who feel like ALL homeless people are lazy, just want a hand out, don’t want to work, etc.
First of all, I want to say that I thank God that I've never been homeless, and I pray that I never will have to face something like that as long as I live.
Why am I writing about this and why do I even care?
As I’m out and about I see homeless people all of the time and instead of looking down on them in disgust, I ask myself, “I wonder what happened to them? What is THEIR story?”
Do you realize that not all homeless people are bad people? They are human! Some people that are out there just had an unfortunate fall in their lives and for whatever reason, they were never able to get back on track.
I’m about to share some examples of what could have happened in their lives. I can’t possibly name them all, but I just want to give you something to think about.
That homeless man that you turn your nose up to, did you know that he lost his wife and kids in a car accident? That’s right! A drunk driver ran a stop sign and hit their car from the right side and killed everybody except him.
His family meant everything to him. Yes! He had the nice home, the fancy cars, the booming career, but all of this meant nothing to him anymore because he had nobody to share it with. He’d always been the strong one in the family, but this was just too much for him to bear. He lost it! Literally!
That lady that you just looked and shook your head at, did you know that she had a childhood from hell? Yep! She was abused all of her life by the hands of her own father. Her mother knew about it, but she acted as if she didn't see anything.
When this little girl grew up and was old enough to leave the home, she was already damaged in every way possible. So she took to the streets just to get by. Now that’s she’s much older she just walks the streets talking to herself. She’s literally out of her mind. For many years she used drugs just to try to numb the pain, but instead, she got caught up in the street life. She honestly tried SO many times to get it right, but her painful past always got the best of her. She just didn't have the strength, will, or courage to pull through her past.
You know that young adult that you see hanging out at the park down the street from your job. As you walk by, you always think to yourself “Why is he always carrying around that baseball and glove in his hands?” Well, did you know that he lost his mother at the tender age of 14, and he and his father have greatly struggled to let her go? This young man has endured a lot in his short life, but his father did the very best that he could. Unfortunately, he lost his father 3 years after his mother passed away from cancer.
This young man was left on his own. He didn't have any close family that he could turn to. His passion has always been playing baseball, although he doesn't play anymore. Carrying his baseball and glove brings him a little peace in his mind. It reminds him of his beautiful parents and how they used to support him. They were his biggest fans!
He’s homeless, but he stays at some nearby shelter when there’s room available. Not only could he have gone pro, but he was a straight A student that took all honors classes. But all of his dreams were shattered when he lost his father. That was the last straw for him. He’s a good kid, but he just doesn't have the drive anymore. He just exists with no motivation or hope for himself.
You know that older gentleman that just asked you for something to eat? Although he hasn't shaven in God knows when and he smelled like he hasn't had a shower in days, this man used to be somebody that everybody respected and loved!
You see, he used to be a very successful banker, AND he was an accomplished artist. He not only had a successful career, but he volunteered his time helping at-risk youth in underprivileged neighborhoods. Everybody loved him because he had a big heart, and he truly cared for people.
But one day while he was at work he received a devastating call informing him that his best friend, whom was his grandmother, had just passed away. His grandmother taught him valuable things about life. He was who he was because of her constant love and support. When the love of his life passed away, he was never right since. He started drinking heavily until it took control of his life and consumed him. He lost everything!
Although he was highly educated and extremely articulate, he couldn't keep it together. Who would have ever thought that he’d be going down this road? No one! But life happens, right?
I’m going to bring my examples to a close, but I want you all to remember this: You don’t know a person’s story! It’s not always what it looks like. Be thankful and grateful for what you have and know that YOU are truly blessed!
Homelessness in America is VERY real for many people from ALL walks of life. Try your best to remember that the next time you have an ill thought about them, because they count too! Sometimes things happen to us in life and it can really take a toll on us if we’re not strong enough to handle it. Trust me, it can happen to any one of us.
- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet)
- Stephanie Lahart (Author & Poet)