Posts Tagged Homelessness


I belong to a little photo group on Facebook where we have themed contests every week and people post photos appropriate to the theme. This week a woman in San Diego posted a picture that keeps haunting my thoughts. I’ll just link to it here as I don’t want to use it without her permission. It’s a photo of a homeless woman of indeterminate age but certainly approaching or into middle age. She is neatly dressed in an almost clown-like colorful outfit. All her worldly belongings are neatly packed and stacked in three matching tote bags arranged on a baby stroller. She has a slight smile.

I see in this woman someone who cares. Cares about how she looks. Cares about tidiness. Cares for her few worldly belongings. It gripped my heart to see someone so destitute at her age of life and yet living a life that is as organized as she can make it and with all the dignity she can gather. I wondered how it would feel to live as she does.

Ruthie, the photographer, is herself barely employed and just scraping by. Upon my comment about the photo, Ruthie replied:

It’s a sad statement, Becky, that it is this way. Because I take public transport, I see them frequently. I’m not talking about the young druggies. There was something on TV once about families who have a camp in northern California .. displaced because of the economy. There are many of us who are simply “a paycheck away.” If it’s only you and you have no one else to be responsible for, then it’s easier and you can smile. It’s just another way of living.

If that doesn’t make you feel grateful today, it should. With a warm roof overhead. More food than a person needs. A comfy bed and clean sheets. A hot shower and a job to go to.

I know my conservative friends will tell me that I earned the comforts I enjoy. And those who live destitute lives have just made poor choices that brought them there. But it’s not that simple. People are sometimes victims of place and time and circumstances. I, for one, do not take for granted the circumstances that placed me where I am and the opportunities that have come my way. Nor do I attribute it to the grace of God. If there is a God, I’d hate to think she would be playing favorites in such a way. No, I think poverty has a lot more to do with the disgrace of mankind.



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