Stories from the Homeless (5)

Have you ever sat down and talked to a homeless person before? Have you ever sat and listened to their story? Have you ever been convicted that twenty miles from where you live, there are thousands of homeless people who sleep on the floors over a vent or use a park bench as their resting place? If the homeless do not have a place in your heart, I have to wonder where your heart lies. As I have said so often, this is not an issue of conviction as it is an issue of understanding. We all have a responsibility to help those in need. It is not just a spiritual issue or a religious one at that. It is a moral and ethical issue too.

Tonight we showed up bringing soup, pop tarts, coffee, and other food items. We brought a feast. As soon as I showed up I saw my friend, Mont. Mont has been homeless now for almost 5 years. He has a place where his sister lives if it is too cold and is unable to stay warn for the night. It takes almost two days to get there though so it doesn’t happen as often as he would like. He is also too proud to go there and beg for a place to stay. He would rather live on a park bench where he could keep to himself.

We sat and talked for a long while. I wasn’t with the rest of the group for most of the night because I felt as though this night, I would talk to Mont. I am glad I did. He beard was longer and whiter than I had remembered it. His dingy yellow sweatshirt smelled with a smell I had never experienced before. It was strong, like mildew or some kind of rotten cat but I felt as though he needed someone to talk to that night. I figured I would work through his smell.

We just sat and talked. We talked about the weather and how most of the homeless will end up underground in the subway. He offered me his red coat to wear while we were there. I declined. As I have said more often than ever, I am so glad Mont was there. As we talked, we felt human (in some respects me more than him).

I looked over at his stuff. He had this medal golf cart thing with all his possessions. There were five bags and one coat. That’s really all that he had. I looked and his hands were bare. They looked warn and tired. When he realized I was looking at them, he proudly showed them to me and said that they have done a lot of pushing.

I looked across the street and there was a man who was picking up cardboard boxes. That would be his bed for the night. I asked Mont about it and he looked over and smiled. He said that the “rich” building across the street dumped their trash in the back of the building. They don’t use a dumpster like other buildings. Since the trash would not be collected until 3 AM, the homeless go over each night and make beds on the streets. Isn’t that kind of them to think about the poor?

Mont then decided that he was going to go to bed so I said goodnight to him. As I was walking away, I saw another guy Larry. Larry, like most of the homeless people I met, left their families to find something better. He told me he was looking for drugs that night and had come up with nothing. He was tired and looking to bunk up for the night over a vent in the park. I asked him if he thought about his family at all. He said it was only when he was unable to do drugs, he thought of his family. When he did drugs, he was able to suppress his feelings concerning his family. I asked him if there was one thing he could change in his life, he said it would be his decision to leave his family. We parted ways and I wondered if his dreams would come true. I am not sure what life held for him. I am not even sure what life holds for me. All I know is that I am convinced that the homeless need us to talk to them. They need us to help them. They need us to love them and treat them like humans. Perhaps if we treat the homeless the way we would want to be treated, our cities would be a different place for everyone. So again, I challenge you to go to the city and love the homeless there. Reach out and touch the heart of someone who really needs. It. God bless


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