Maybe I’m amazed.
This is the first time in nearly two months that I’ve written an article for this blog. Not that I’ve stopped caring about it, far from it. It’s just that … paying work gets in the way. Life itself gets in the way.
Life has a way of carrying on, no matter what our situations, as long as we keep pursuing it. The key is to keep pursuing that life we’re given, no matter what.
I’ve been checking in to the blog recently and looking at the stats, and here’s what has me amazed: Despite the fact that I haven’t written anything new in nearly two months, this blog is still getting about the same number of views on a daily basis that I used to see when I was putting up fresh, new articles every day.
Here’s the main thing viewers are going to when they come here: A day in the life of a homeless person. And if they’re not going to that one, they’re going to some other article I’ve written about personal time that I and members of my family have spent going out to help the homeless as part of the Wasatch Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Inner City Outreach (ICOR) ministry.
I’m hoping the reason that particular article is being viewed so many times is because of a deep, genuine sense of caring for those less fortunate. After all, that’s part of our moral obligation.
It’s been a few weeks since ICOR volunteers went out for the last time this season to Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City. The weather was getting warmer, but the needs were still great. The line of the homeless was long, and it still included men, women, children, pets. Everyone was helped in some way, no one was turned away.
The needs are still there. And, regardless of what the naysayers will tell you about the impoverished side of America, the poor among us really don’t have it all that great. I still stand there on the street along the west side of Pioneer Park and talk to the people getting help, and can only shake my head when I hear how many of them have a paying job and still can’t afford a decent place to live, so they find themselves living out of a vehicle or a homeless shelter.
Anyone telling you the working poor in America have it pretty good compared to other places … well, have they ever tried walking a mile in those people’s shoes? My son Grant wrote the heart of that article that’s been getting so many views here. I think that assignment touched him in some way. It’s done my heart good this season to see him getting so involved in the back of the ICOR truck, helping those in need on a face-to-face basis.
It also can’t be said that the homeless who don’t have jobs don’t want to earn a living, that they prefer to live off of handouts — at least not all of them. This week, I was infuriated by a story from Scottsdale, Arizona, of a 35-year-old homeless mother of two children who could not find anyone to care for her toddlers while she went to a job interview to try and improve their lives, so she was left with no choice but to leave the children in her vehicle with the windows cracked open while she sat in the interview. Authorities came to take her children, and the mother was charged with two felony counts of child abuse. She not only lost out on the chance for a job to improve her family’s life, she stands to lose her children as well.
I — along with many others who’ve read the story — don’t find myself angered by the mother’s choice to leave her children in the car unattended as much as I do with how glaringly this story shows that we are apparently becoming a nation that seems to care less and less about those less fortunate, our desire to lend a hand seems to be diminishing, even toward those who are still trying to pull themselves up only to find themselves shoved back down.
This is becoming less and less of a Christian nation. More and more people are losing their homes, whether they’re working or not. You have to see it to feel it. You have to look into the eyes of the people to feel the impact. You have to talk to these people to understand what it is to be without a home.
Try spending a day in your life among the homeless, just like Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) has done and spoke about in front of the House of Representatives.
Until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, no one has room to talk about how good America’s poor have it.
Try spending more than one day among the homeless. I challenge you.