Sunday, July 18, 2010
It's Not a Wonderful Life: the Plight of the Homeless
Last Christmas our church hosted an elaborate banquet for the homeless. Catered, decked out and decorated. A friend created a video of the church's outreach to the homeless and showed clips of our serving weekly breakfasts and then the banquet. There is a scene where the homeless are standing outside the church office, from which we serve them breakfast each Sunday. It's cold, and early in the morning. Men and women huddled in their sweatshirts, winter coats, whatever they can wrap around themselves. The Apollo Theater is next door, and their large marquee hangs above the sidewalk. This video shot shows a bunch of homeless people standing under the theater marquee which was promoting the currently showing movie--It's A Wonderful Life. Go figure.
What a sad irony. Nothing wonderful about life for them. For many of us middle and middle/upper class life, for the most part, is wonderful. Yes, we have our mortgage payments, and worries and health concerns, but, typically, life is good--really good.
I met a man this morning, maybe in his fifties. Told me this is his second day being homeless. He's staying at a rescue mission. Ii asked him how he ended up here. He was a cabbie, and for reasons undisclosed he lost his driver's license, which, in turn, caused him to lose his job, which resulted in him losing his apartment and "everything I had." And there he sat, eating some eggs and hash browns we'd fixed him.
How will he ever rebound? Will someone ever take a chance with the guy? Will he have the determination to look at his current predicament as a brutal means, rather than a terrible end? Will this cause him to do some introspection and make some possibly need adjustments in his life, or will this massive disappointment hurl him into self-sabotaging ways of numbing himself against the pain?
It remains to be seen. Hopefully through our meager efforts we can assure him once a week that he hasn't been discarded or forgotten. If you see a homeless person this week, please don't dismiss him. Don't flip her off without knowing her story.
I hope that someday my new friend can again echo Jimmy Stewart's sentiments.