How do you write about something when you just can’t find the words? That is what I am struggling with at this moment. I want to write about this, but I don’t know how. So pardon me as I stumble along to even attempt to say what I feel right now.
See this camp:
We recently found out about this camp. Two men who risked their lives and served our country are living in this camp. One is an Air Force veteran, the other a Navy veteran. One is on crutches. As I write these words in my warm home, it is 30 degrees outside. I don’t know what the wind chill is. And it’s going to get a lot colder before winter is over.
I realize that there are a lot of different reasons that people end up this way. Some choose it. Some can’t live by society’s rules. Some have made big mistakes. Some have addictions, mental illness, etc. And some are just honest, good, hard-working people who end up with no where to go. In our current economy the homeless that fit into that last category are growing. And I choose to give people the benefit of the doubt, unless I see reason to do otherwise. I am disabled. I once worked 65 hours a week or more and I am now no longer able to provide for myself. I live by the grace of others in my life. It is an issue that frustrates me to no end. I don’t like it when people judge me incorrectly, so I won’t judge others.
These two men are purposely trying to avoid town and the crime-ridden shelter areas. I discussed this issue amongst some friends and some of them couldn’t understand this mentality. Personally I can. I know if I were able, I’d much rather rough it in a tent than be around some of the things that go on in the worst parts of town.
We don’t want to pry or step on any toes. So we haven’t prodded them for much information. They seem to be handling their camp very well. It is clean, well kept. And what appears in the photo above to look like “stuff” piled on the sides of their tent, is actually what they are using to hold down the tarps that make their tent. We have had some very severe wind recently, so this is a crucial part of there set up and smart. They have a floor of wood pilots. Someone gave them two cots and some blankets, so they are off the ground. They are using propane for heat. Kerosene for the little lanterns they have. A wood campfire to cook on.
We don’t have much in the way of money these days, but we are going to help however we can. We put together some things for them. Baby wipes, canned food, paper towels, toilet paper, some empty unused Kroger bags so they’d have something to haul their nonburnable trash out in, some candy, and a big case of bottled water. We weren’t really sure exactly what they needed most.
My husband took it to them and they were kind and very appreciative. They seemed particularly grateful for the toilet paper. Sometimes the smallest things, can mean so much.
I know there are a lot of homeless people in the world, and we can’t help everyone. But we can do something.
When my husband asked them today what they needed and what else he could bring them, they didn’t ask for money, they asked for some meat for their fire.
The whole thing has really brought some things into clear perspective for me. Recently I’ve been kind of bummed about how much smaller the pile of gifts under our tree was going to be this year. We have never been the type to spoil our kids with tons of stuff. But I do like for them to have a big Christmas and birthdays. Even though (judging by what I’ve seen) I don’t think my definition of “big” is anywhere near a lot of people’s definition of big. Still, things are leaner this year for sure. But now all of that just seems so silly.
My kids are warm.
There is food in their bellies.
We are blessed.