Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hey, Mister, Can You Spare Some Love?

It's writing challenge time, brought to you by Indie Ink. New contestants: Funderbar; New feedback and comments: Fantabulistic; Not meeting deadlines: Priceless. For everything else, there's me.

Welcome to Week 14.

Week 14.
My Challenger: The Supremely Talented Lazidaisical
My Challenge: homeless
Who I am Challenging: The Gracious and Lovely Supermaren
What I Challenged Them With: Love is more than good intentions.

Hey, Mister, Can You Spare Some Love?

The thing is, it's not only ever just "their fault." Shit happens. Sometimes a lot of shit happens. I get that.

But I also don't get it, if that makes sense. It scares me--scares the holy bejesus shit out of me, honestly--to think that I could end up that way. Homeless.

But then again, I truly don't believe it ever could happen to me, which part of my mind just whispered, That's what you think...

I hate that voice.

I can't even begin to imagine it. I don't believe for a second that they are all wino's, or addicts, or lazy, although some of them probably are. I can't guarantee that whenever I hand a homeless person some change or a bill that they aren't going to turn around and spend it on alcohol, or drugs, or sex...

But then again, I don't care if they do--but allow me to clarify that statement, if you please. "I don't care," as in, if they, as a homeless, wandering human soul who hasn't a roof over his/her head and no guarantee of food or a place to sleep safely at night, finds even five minutes of comfort in a drink, or a high? I cannot begrudge them that. I'm not an idiot. I know $5 isn't going to really, truly help them, in the sense that they certainly couldn't rent a room for the night--hell, if it weren't for the so-called "dollar" menu at fast-food chains, I doubt anywhere else it would even buy a proper meal (and that's assuming the dollar menu falls into the "proper meal" category, which we all know it doesn't...). What I'm saying is, I'm not one of those people who make someone who is begging--BEGGING, mind you, for change, pennies--promise me they aren't going to spend it on this or that.

And I would hope that, were I ever to find myself in such a situation, someone else would be kind enough not only to hand me some type of money, but would allow me the dignity, that tiniest part of dignity, to spend this treasured gift in whichever way I choose. After all, if I were homeless, what dignity have I left? What kind of choice could I possibly make? No job, no money, no home, no food--but for a brief moment, when that money hit my hand from your heart, I know I'd feel like a king, albeit briefly. And I personally can thing of nothing more degrading, nothing more humiliating, than, having accepted your generous gift, to then listen to a list of demands and rules about how to spend it. It breaks my heart when I see others treat the homeless like children who are being punished, children who just need a good talking-to, children who are ultimately someone else's responsibility...

I'm not sure we could ever fully "solve" the so-called "homeless problem" in our country. I'm not sure we could even begin to fathom a way to make sure every person gets that chance, at that moment, to turn their lives in a direction which would restore their dignity and pride at being a human being once again. After all, some of it would have to be a conscious decision on their part--but it will also take a hell of a lot of heart on our part.

And honestly, I don't see us ever getting around to having that much heart, as a country at least. Sure, on a case-by-case, person-by-person basis, sure, we can save a few--and by "save," I certainly don't mean "Every single one a home owner and making thousands each year at a job." And, of course, each year there is a success story in one way or another of a formerly homeless person reaching for and getting the life back that they want, the life back that they lost, due to their own hard work and other's giving them a break, giving them a job, giving them a place to lay their head safely each night.

But thousands more never get that shot.

The homeless. Each individual is someone's child, someone's son or daughter, someone's brother or sister, someone's father or mother.

They aren't the homeless--they are human beings. They are who each and every one of us could end up becoming.

But for each other.

But for me. And you.

And the thousands of those whom we have failed in one way or another.

Do me a favor, will you? Next time you pass by a homeless person, don't think of handing them money because it will make you feel better--do it because it might make them feel better, feel human again, just for a moment.

Because it will only take one fateful moment in your own life, and that could be you.

Previous Challenges I have answered:
[Week 1: All of Me] [Week 2: Child's End] [Week 3: Seeking Bonds]
[Week 4: Just So You Know] [Week 5: Justice & Mercy]
[Week 6: Tale of a Fateful Flick] [Week 7: Hell or High Water]
[Week 8: Streaming Summer] [Week 9: Piss & Vinegar]
[Week 10: Set It Free]
[Week 11: Four Horsemen, Three Gods, a Transgendered Devil, and Lazarus Under a Pear Tree...]
[Week 12: Worth a Thousand Words...] [Week 13: On the Down...]


Trish said...

Powerful stuff. It's so true that you just never know where you may end up one day.

Amy L. said...

This sure is a crazy planet. Only compassion can save us.

Bran said...

Has to be a real blow to the pride, begging.

The Drama Mama said...

Not every homeless is a drug addict or alcoholic. This was a great post.

Seeking Elevation said...

Nicely said. I can't imagine it either--but this economy makes me realize how close some of us actually live to our bottom line. It's a scary thought.

Lazidaisical said...

Wow, wasn't expecting that! I thought you'd spin the prompt into a wildly entertaining piece of fiction; instead it was a wildly thought-provoking commentary on the human condition, which just extra-proves how great of a writer you are. Super job. (and thanks for introducing me as "talented"! blushing!)