Friday, October 29, 2010
I took an impromptu walk today noticing a stretch of empty land behind a shopping center. The sun was just up, beautiful deep green dew covered grass spread up and down hills and I could almost hear my inner child staying, “Can we go, please, an adventure, can we check it out, come on, please?????” So, I relented and explored for a few moments. Sadly, the homeless and disrespectful filled this park. There was trash everywhere but there were also stretches where you could catch a glimpse of the beauty that once was in this particular area, right in the middle of the suburbs. Its land that the Newland’s donated to the city a long time ago. Their old farmhouse still stands on Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach, CA. It was such a quiet little hilly place and I actually found a seemingly untouched spot where I could stand there and listen to the birds while taking in the view of a natural landscape of trees and shrubs. It was really beautiful.
Sad to me, however, where the sights walking back to my car. People, homeless, everything they own in their cars with barely enough room to sleep. It made my heart ache. Everyone’s situation isnt the same and some of these folks are here by their own choices in life. I had a family member once who did not seem to get along with work for long. This family member just couldn’t function with her emotional ups and downs, back pain treated only with lots of pain medication and alcohol refusing treatment that might bring long-term results. As a result, this family member was able to become qualified for early disability from the federal government and tried to live off of a mere $600 a month and food stamps-- Very tough to do in this day and age. Because of the emotional challenges she faced unchecked, she was frequently asked to move from roommate situations and eventually dealt with frequent bouts of homelessness, run ins with the law and getting to know the underside of society. These were the results of the choices that she made. She could have chosen differently but could not bring herself too. Maybe it was the emotional challenges left unchecked that lived totally underground while in the system…hidden so that the wounds could never be brought to the surface where real healing could begin. I’m just not sure and it’s not my place to judge but I thought of this family member as I walked by and saw a woman sleeping in her car with very likely everything she owned.
There is a tiny sliver between that woman and I…maybe that is an understatement…gratefully and graciously I’ve been blessed with good emotional, physical and mental health. I’ve been blessed with a drive and ambition to never settle for less. But I do contrast that, in particular with my family member. This poor soul believes she has been victimized by the system, by men, by God, by me and the rest of the family. Everyone else in existence is accountable for her predicament but her. How do you combat delusional thoughts such as these? I don’t know. I remember another time down by the Pier in Huntington Beach. I went early for a walk and a man came and sat down right by me. He wanted a few bucks for some breakfast and I had just that and gave it to him. He started to tell me his story and I told him it wasn’t necessary for him to explain anything. He is who he is, his path is his path, I gave him what he asked for and nothing else was necessary. He told me he just needed someone to listen. So, I did. He told me he had it all—a house, a wife, 3 beautiful daughters. He lost his job and couldn’t provide for them. He had become so depressed he could not function and could not work. He began drinking heavily and he lost everything…the wife, the kids, his dignity and self-respect. He depended on friends until they could or would support him no more and now here he sits, at the beach, homeless. He said with everything in him, he wanted to walk straight into the water and never come out. Still I just listened. He said his piece and I looked at him and said, “In case you forgot, you are a child of God just like the rest of us…inside- you are beautiful and your life has purpose even if you can’t see it right now.” He just shook his head and said he would never understand. I said a prayer for him right then and there…told him God bless and left. I felt sad but again I could see choices made and maybe those choices were made due to ill mental or emotional health. If people knew they had wounds and that there was nothing wrong in seeking some direction for healing those emotional and mental wounds, maybe they could make better choices but the ego is tricky sometimes. It’s by far better to drop out of the system, society and lose everything than to admit at some level you might be a bit defective??? Unrealized is that imperfectness is perfect for that soul in this world.
I tried to detach and hold as much compassion as I could. But to me it seems easy – go get some help…but, I forget, I am mostly emotionally and mentally stable. Some folks are not and they seem unable or unwilling to get there. Do they deserve hatred, disdain or pity? No, not at all. What they need is love and compassion, some empathy rather than sympathy…they need to know they can make different choices and get help. Sometimes we have to realize that it isn’t our jobs to stop all suffering but maybe, perhaps shine a little light on the path so the willing can get their own volition. I don’t know. It just had me thinking.
Tonight I am grateful, incredibly so, for the many gifts I’ve been given…I’m grateful for every choice that I have ever made and so very grateful for those in my life who refused to sympathize with me and instead showed me love, compassion and empathy…those things shined a little light on the path a few steps ahead of me so I could walk in the right direction. So, if you would, if you are so inclined…say a little prayer for the homeless…that they become healed and willing to see the little bit of light shown them on their path… that they might learn and grow and stand steadfast in the love and beauty that is inside of them. ~Blessings