A friend of mine just posted on my blog his experience with the homeless. To quote him, “After our brief talk, I could see tears welling up in each of their eyes. I think it’s easy to forget that the homeless are people. I don’t deny that some may have serious problems and perhaps real issues with drugs, alcohol, and mental illness, but even with all of that we shouldn’t forget that they are also people.”
I often think of my homeless friend Ron who I befriended in 2009 during my Homeless Project. Coincidentally, I saw Ron the day after my friend posted the above comment. Coincidentally, I had some extra time, so I stopped to talk. He recognized me and simply said, “I need to get off the streets.” This is something that he repeated all the time a few years back and I would challenge him on it. I would challenge him to go to a shelter for help. He knows he is an alcoholic. He knows he has options to get off the street. He believes the alcoholic addiction is too great of an obstacle. This time, instead of challenging him I simply responded with, “It must be hard.” I said it with a great deal of love and sadness in my heart. A tear immediately fell down his right cheek. Yes, the homeless are real people.