Saturday, May 3, 2008

no one chooses to be homeless

Tonight was Street Ministry. It was a little interesting having seen a lot of people at work who I saw tonight and knowing that I'll see them again in the morning at work. I'm not used to that. Normally I just see them on Friday nights. We'll see how it works though. I really don't want to give up my volunteering because I'm working, even though I am working with a very similar population with lots of overlapping.

We had a group in tonight from a small farm town two hours away from the city. They were all over 18, but they were very Mennonite. It was interesting to watch them work, but especially interesting to hear them in debriefing. Some of them really bothered me; well, one man I guess. He was very accusing, that people had put themselves in these situations and just needed to find work and to get a job. He said he didn't want a response, and I think I'm glad, because while I wanted to challenge his thinking, I also wanted to stay calm. But really, I'm sorry, it's not quite as simple as people think it is. At the same time though, how would he know that?? I grew up doing this, this is my life, of course I know that, but we have had totally different life experiences. Who am I to judge his judgment.

What really really bothered me though, was something else he said. He had a conversation with a couple who smelled strongly of alcohol or solvent; he didn't specify which. At the end of the conversation the people said "God bless you". He couldn't believe that they were truly Christians and truly knew God, because of their substance use. He didn't believe that they knew what they were saying when they blessed him. And I don't agree... I don't agree at all. So many of the people I work with are Christians, just because they're homeless doesn't mean their faithless. Of course, that's not to say that all homeless people are Christians, I've just noticed that a lot of them are.

But, enough about that. I work at 7:30 and it's already 12:30 (or should I say 0030 as our 24 clock would dictate). I'm going to ride my bike in the morning which makes me quite excited. I'm so glad I have my bike out again!


Anonymous said...

I've found myself in a similar position before. My usual response to the 'just get a job' line is to reply with "there but for the grace of god go I."

I'm with you on the broader point though, being homeless does not equate to hopeless especially not in terms of faith...

A few weeks ago one of my co-workers at the men's hostel I volunteer with had a family member die. So she was on leave that week and I briefly said why to a couple of guys who missed her. One of the homeless, drug-dependent guys in my group took me aside and said that he just wanted to tell me he'd be praying for my co-worker. Now that humbled me,and made me feel as though I did not know god nearly as well as this man. He has so many troubles of his own yet still his faith held strong. I then understood a bit more about the true nature of resilience and being non-judgmental.

Still Dreaming said...

That's such a touching story. I often find myself humbled in the presence of the faith of some of the people I work with. It somehow never ceases to amaze me.

Surgeon in my dreams said...

I just came upon your blog today. I enjoy what I have read so far and agree with you on many areas.

On this particular post, you're so "dead on" about people who are in trouble can also be people who have given their heart to the Lord and have fallen since.

I am one of those Christians who "back slide" and made some huge mistakes. We beat ourselves up enough, we don't need other "Christians" helping.

You're going to go far; you're going to touch many lives, some of which you may never know.