Every morning I wake up excited to get into my car and drive to the shelter, to hear the familiar voices calling out ‘Good Morning!’ to me and to see the faces of the guests that have become my world. I love my shelter – more specifically, I love the guests that walk through those doors every morning asking me for shampoo, towels, laundry detergent, underpants and coffee. They are never far from my thoughts; On my day off I purposely drive by to honk my horn and wave cheerfully while they sit on the porch of the halfway house next door, and I watch the streets for them when I’m driving home late at night. I even pulled out a picture of them at a wedding I was at, showing off the alcoholic, crack addict and drug dealer like a proud mama. You see – I’m a fool in love.
This is where I’m going to lose you, isn’t it, dear Reader? This is where I always lose everyone. It happens all the time, as soon as I mention the homeless in conjunction with you, you disengage. For example:
1. Everyone knows I work at a shelter, and they will commend me for doing such “good work.” Then I ask for a donation of an item (shampoo, socks, etc…) *Crickets*
2. You make a politically charged post about social and economic inequality. I say “Right on, man! You should come down to the shelter and help us cook a meal for these guys. (the target population you’re ranting about)” *Crickets*
3. I ask for a donation of an item and I get this response, “You know no one will ever donate to that right? I mean, why would they?”
4. You commend me for my good work, and say you always wanted to do that. I invite you down to help cook a meal. *Crickets*
There is a wall inside of you, dear Reader, that clamps shut in the blink of an eye and I urge you to fight against it. Listen with the ear of your heart (thanks, Jamie!). Love and time are free, and both can bring you joy and peace.