Wednesday, May 28, 2014

There is Always HOPE!

“How many people worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore him on Monday?”

I read this quote earlier today after engaging in one of the most horrific conversations I have had to date and the anger which resulted from this unrighteousness has inspired me to write my first blog in many, many months.  Several weeks ago, I saw a few back-to-back news stories that made me stop and shake my head in disbelief at the desolation in our world that is caused by humans.  The first news item was about a caterer.  The caterer had been booked for an event, which was canceled at the last moment.  Stuck with a large amount of already prepared food, the caterer decided rather than throw out perfectly good, wholesome food, she would take it to the growing larger homeless population who lived near her apartment building and whom she walked past every day.  A local policeman witnessed the caterer in the act of being kind and caring and promptly fined this thoughtful woman and dumped all of the professionally-prepared lasagna into a trash receptacle. WHY?????? Because it’s illegal to feed homeless, starving people.

While I was still stewing over this terrible news report, several days later a local advocate was once again on the television speaking out about the homeless population in Nashville, in hopes to rouse concern and garner help to those in need who live in a “tent-city”..  At any given time, Nashville has 3 to 4 thousand homeless people, and the reasons behind their circumstances are so varied that it is impossible to properly identify why they are there because each person living there has their own personal story.  Blanket statements (usually derogatory and often mentioning that “they made poor choices, or they like being homeless, or they are bums and don’t want to work” to describe these folks as an entire group are just as biased and prejudiced as is trying to lump any other group of people into a “they-are-this” or “they-are-that” category.  Statistics now prove that most of us are only a few paychecks (sometimes just 1 or 2) away from finding our own selves in a desperate state of financial emergency.  And this can lead very quickly to becoming homeless. It can happen to anyone.  Anytime. To learn more about homelessness in Nashville, check out the informative article at the link below:

For weeks now I have been worrying over this horrible problem of people living on the street,  that seems fixable.  My mind came up with several na├»ve yet sincere possible solutions.  For instance…empty buildings and empty houses.  There are so many of them…more than enough to go around.  Or what about the uber-successful ABC drama Nashville possibly being used as an outlet, with the story-line we read in the daily news becoming part of their written screen play?  Both the radio and television have reported how monetarily successful the show has been for businesses, actors, the local restaurants and bars, and more in Nashville, Tennessee.  Jobs have been created. Businesses are booming due to the recognition.  It’s occurred to me that the writers of the show could write the homeless “tent-city” problem into their story-line and have one or several of their characters actively try to raise money and help. Others have said the following, and I agree.  Nashville always seems to muster up funds for expensive riverside art, restoration and the building of new athletic and musical arenas.  If they used the same Volunteer state spirit and tackled the problem of homelessness, imagine what all that care and concern could do!   The homeless not only need houses, but they need jobs, therapy, clothes, food, etc… There are several good organizations already set up, already trying to eliminate this suffering.  But, there is still a lot to accomplish, This unfortunate way of life can use all the help it can get, and what better way to get help but by reaching all of America through an hour long high-ratings television show that they are going to be watching anyway.  People might be able ignore what is right in front of their face as they walk down the street, but they all sit down and watch the television.  They won’t ignore that. Homelessness is not a situation that Nashville can be proud of, not right now.  But, people  do have the power and heart to change it, if only …

Here are a few links to great organizations that are trying to make a difference.  Check them out.  I bet you will find there are things you might be able to also help with. I know I did.

And, as to the horrible conversation mentioned above… I think out loud a lot, especially when something is truly bothering me, such as human suffering.  Because I have a great longing to heal all things (even when I don’t necessarily have the right solution to do so), I find myself talking about these topics that are at the forefront of my mind.  Very recently, I mentioned this topic in conversation with someone who presents themselves as a model citizen.   Yet, at the very mention of the homelessness issue our state and country is having, this same person, in all seriousness, says, “The simplest solution is to just shoot them all. Being homeless was their choice.” 

I’m not sure I have ever been as infuriated and disappointed in mankind as I was the moment this person uttered those words.  In fact, rather than scream, I had to stand up and leave the room, and I still couldn't keep myself from slamming the door rather hard.  But I don’t believe that all people are that uncaring and callous.  In fact, I think most people truly do want to help, they just aren't sure how.  So again, please take the time and check out a few of those links above.  They each have a variety of ideas, and many are fairly simple and easy.

As a final thought, I believe that when a thing upsets you or me that deeply it’s because we are being pushed by something higher than our own selves to step in and try to make a difference. There is always HOPE.  So perhaps, I was meant to write this particular blog all along or find other ways that I can help, and maybe this will encourage you to reach out and help, too.  Let me know if you have any ideas.  I would love to hear them.