This morning on our way to school we saw a woman huddled in a doorway, trying to pull on a coat. She was struggling with the coat, maybe her hands weren’t cooperating after a night on the street in this miserably cold, wet weather. She was leaning against a wheelchair covered with a blue tarp and smiling at people walking by on their way to work or somewhere warm. My son noticed that she was sitting very close to a sign that read No Soliciting, No Loitering, No Camping. “That’s not right” he said. “Where is she supposed to go?”
I’ve been thinking a lot about physical and emotional discomfort lately and the silver linings and opportunities this discomfort and pain has afforded me as discussed here last week. I have been able to do so, in great part, because I have a warm place to live, good health insurance and a strong, loving support network.
Seeing as I am now a bit more familiar with pain and suffering, I am also more affected by witnessing the hurt and discomfort and pain all around me. Pain that probably doesn’t afford much musing about silver linings Living on the streets with no where safe and warm to go must be just awful. I hate being cold and wet, hate it!
What can I do? What can we do? We can look, we can see people, acknowledge them and find small and large ways to share what we have and provide comfort in these cold, wet times.
There are wonderful organizations devoted to providing stability and a sense of community in most places I’m sure. Here in Portland I look to Streets Roots and Sisters of the Road for such comfort.
12 thoughts on “Out in the Cold”
Forever grateful for your reminder of where my priorities lie. Not in myself but for the love of my brothers and sisters and to love my neighbor. Thank you for the links. I will certainly search my soul in what I can do to help those less fortunate than myself.
Thank you for your sweet note.
Rosemarie Sweet says:
I am struck by your courage and compassion. I need people like you in my life to remind me to be strong and to not lose sight of the fact that we all depend upon each other for our lives.
Thank you Rosemarie and you know I have plenty of people in my life who do the same. We all need each other, as you say!
Barbara Grover says:
Also, for services that support homeless youth, check out P:ear. (http://pearmentor.org/) They provide a day center with food and activities as well as mentoring.
Jayne cronlund says:
So great to transcend food into the deeper soulful meanings of our life on this planet. Thanks for your courage.
Susie Meserve says:
Thanks for this. We give money to a place called the Homeless Action Center a few times a year now. Homelessness in the Bay Area is rampant, and near our house are these huge encampments. It’s outrageous.
It is outrageous that in this country where not just millionaires but billionaires abound that people are cold and hungry, ESPECIALLY children!!! And it only looks more grim now!
Tom Fuller says:
So great to see the journey of transformation you’re on Kathryn.
I love to get the little snapshots along the way!
Tricia Snell says:
Beautifully articulated and so important…. thank you….
I haven’t been reading the blog so just found out that you’re in cancer treatment. I’m a survivor of 3 primary cancers, and of cancer treatment. I know how uncomfortable and tiring it can all be. I’m not one of those cheery people who says that cancer is a gift because of how they’ve learned and grown. I’d give back this “gift” any time. I do think that, having this unwelcome thing, I might as well see what I can learn from it. And I’ve learned a lot!
It’ s great that, during your own challenges, you have kept your empathy for others, especially for those with noplace to go,, and that your son is developing that same compassion.
Keep on going, one day at a time or 5 minutes at a time if a day seems too long. Cancer is certainly an interesting journey.
Thank you so much for your note Lee. And of course I had no idea you had been through all you have. Thank you for sharing and thanks for your wise words here.