By Laura D. Field of Reflective Tapestry of Life
When you choose to look out beyond ones own life challenges, you get to witness something that you know exists; yet never want to believe it is “real” while happening in your own back yard (neighborhood).
Today I came across a young man trying to balance his recent supply of food, from a local pantry, onto his bike that only had one pedal. He showed me how he managed to make this bike work.
In speaking with him, I discovered he was homeless while trying to finish his HS requirements. I offered him a ride, yet he hesitated. Once he realized that he would not be able to carry all he had, along with being late for class he said he would like to take me up on my offer. Without complaint, I took a box out of the back of the Jeep in order for us to adjust for his bike, when he noticed that I had a bad back. At that moment he insisted he would do all the lifting. Not often does one meet a young person who is able to see the pain of another, and willing to help.
He lives in a tent, and has been for over a year. I know it is a risk to give an unknown person help, but I trusted the safety I felt in what I was led to do.
19 years old. I do not know his full story, yet what I do know is enough to make me realize that parents need to be taught how to parent if they are unable to handle their anger issues, or the inability to handle their intake of alcohol.
I do not have the capacity to understand how a parent can discard their child so easily. I know we all have stories, and I honestly believe in tough love, but not to this extreme. Abuse and neglect are not appropriate parenting tactics and represent an act of selfishness.
This is poverty without our own country. He is unable to get the help from many resources because he does not have a “real” address. This means he is unable to get free lunch or breakfast at the school. He does not have physical education classes, so he is unable to appreciate the warmth and cleansing power of a hot shower. I’m not even sure how much he has for clean clothing, warm socks, etc.
After dropping him off in the area in which he lives, as he would not let me drive him to the school, I gave him a hug. He needs a shower, which was obvious the moment I met him, yet most obvious when I hugged him. I could tell in his eyes, that the hug was needed and appreciated by the confirmation of his gentle yet humble words.
I shared with my husband what I experienced and what I wanted to do for this young man. We will be going through what we have, to see if we have a clean, new-like backpack, a spare blanket, a tarp, etc. I hope that I have the opportunity to see him again, as I was not permitted to actually see his “home”, so that we can pull over and give what little we might be able to offer as a gift of compassion and love.
In moments like this, I realize how rich I am in having plenty of love, a home, and the provision of what we need. We might not live in a mansion, but we have a warm, safe and dry place to rest our heads at night. I might not drive the most elite of transportation, but I have safe measures to get me where I need to be. And the most important of all life needs, is that I have a family who has my back during the challenges in life, and encouragement to make it through.
So often we take for granted what we have, complain about our own situations and lack in what we do not have, that we forget to be thankful for the blessings that surround us.
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12 (KJV)
Laura – Blogger, paid Freelance writer