[Hpn] FWD: ok: something finally snapped
Wed, 04 Jul 2001 12:08:21 +0200
This morning I was forwarded one of those anecdotes that make their way around
the Internet. It concerns an encounter with a homeless person by a "normally
housed" member of society.
I'd seen it before, but this morning as I read it, something snapped, (maybe
that "last straw"?) So what got to me? I dunno...maybe what I perceived as dripping
condescension followed by the insight that "gee, this person actually is a PERSON"....
Anyway, am posting it here, and then I am going to look for a chill pill:
****** Forwarded Message Follows *******
It never ceases to amaze me how much society underestimates homeless people.
As a formerly homeless person, and homeless rights advocate, I pass on these
words from a writer of Courage and insight, Bridgit Reilly:
""There seems to be an atitude that homeless people are homeless only
because they were too stupid to keep their homes and are therefore not very
competent at thinking for themselves, and that they therefore need the
guidance of more intelligent, "enlightened" people to help them back onto
the path to a "normal" life. To any person with an I.Q. of more than 50 who
is homeless because of the worsening economic conditiions in the country
this attitude is, to say the least, extremely insulting.
What is lacking here, or maybe only partially formed, is the concept of
homeless empowerment: that we should have the power to control our own
lives, to use our intelligence to find out own creative solutions to our
predicament, and that we are entitled to keep our dignity in the process;
that we have the same constitutional rights as every other citizen, and that
the very last thing we need is to be treated like criminals or idiots while
we are struggling to survive." -Bridigit Reilly
from "On Homeless Empowerment"
see also her homepage for a list of stunningly lucid articles..
We need to educate all those we can that homelessness is not a state to be
reacted to with patronization, fear, harassment, or persecution. There are
many causes for homelessness. Increasingly in today's society, all it takes
is an unexpected medical expense, an accident, or a layoff from work, and
there people are: homeless.
Now if you can forward what I've written to ten of your friends, maybe we
will make a start!!
With much love,
WorldHome (no frames)
----Original Message Follows----
From: "Nice North" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Fwd: Don't We All
Date: Wed, 04 Jul 2001 17:02:45 +0800
>----Original Message Follows----
>From: "Robert & Myrna Henderson"
> > <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
> > DON'T WE ALL
> > I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come
> > from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming
> > my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a
> > bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes,
> > and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other
> > times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those
> > "don't want to be bothered times."
> > "I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought.
> > He didn't.
> > He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look
> > like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.
> > After a few minutes he spoke.
> > "That's a very pretty car," he said.
> > He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly
> > blond beard keep more than his face warm.
> > I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.
> > He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never
> > came. As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him
> > if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held
> > true to the inner voice.
> > "Do you need any help?" I asked.
> > He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never
> > forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it
> > from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing
> > but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.
> > "Don't we all?" he said.
> > I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in
> > the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.
> > Don't we all?
> > I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed
> > help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare,
> > but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three
> > little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how
> > much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you
> > have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or
> > a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it's just a compliment, you
> > can give that.
> > You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all.
> > They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have. A different
> > perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from
> > daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.
> > Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe
> > he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and
> > wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.
> > Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then
> > said, "go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."
> > Don't we all?
> > -- Author Unknown
> > <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
> > -- The Staff of E-Mail Ministry
> > email@example.com
> > http://www.emailministry.org
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