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Category: Welcome
Topic: Reading your book! So many similarities.

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Your book is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. It’s got its very own category of which I struggle to even define.

Your words, your story, your plight have reached my soul at such depths no one could hardly match. You see, I was homeless off and on for many years; the cause, an imbalanced mother full of demons who inwardly hated me. I was the target of her wrath and she oft times threw me out like garbage when she wasn’t happy. My children also suffered from her rages and were disregarded along with me many times. Eventually, I lost custody of my children when the same family members who put me out on the street legally sought custody of them. After all, I was the degenerate child, the black sheep of the family who they could blame all of their problems on. I digress.

I am reading your book through an online course at Liberty University. I am going for a degree in social work.

I understand the plight of the homeless since I was homeless. No one understands the depths of the struggle until they have actually walked in the shoes of another dredging through it. “Get a job” some say to the beggar but what they don’t realize is that getting a job isn’t a realistic suggestion. How will they get the required documents to start work? Where will they shower? How will they get there? Where will they stash their belongings while they are at work? These are questions that no one thinks about when they nonchalantly pass judgement.

Jesus knew the struggle.

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew‬ ‭25:35-40‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I noticed the differences in homeless populations as you depicted in your book as well. The homeless population in Tampa, Florida was much like you described of that in Washington D.C., older people and veterans who tend to stick to themselves. In Fredericksburg, Virginia however, the population is a younger crowd and families who tend to travel in a group from one place to the next. I currently drive the local transit bus and I hear the poor and homeless gossip about who did what at that evening’s church dinner.

Your story of getting your meal ticket and waiting hours to eat resembled that of Tampa, Florida. The organization who fed the homeless down there was by far, the best nonprofit organization I have ever come into contact with ever in my 41 years of life. The cook was a five star chef, once employed in the hotel industry who produced miracles with the budget he was given. The tables were set as though in a fine dining restaurant and volunteers came up to our table to take our order. All meals were balanced with fruit and vegetables and there was always a sweet Christian woman who would bring me extra fruit to take with me when I left. The air was filled with peaceful music, to the likes of Bob Marley and other “let’s get along” music and the walls were lined with inspiring quotes in frames accompanied with serene pictures. Truly, in all my life, I’ve never felt as much compassion as I did there.

Your story of “sugar man” intrigued me and gave me cause to stop reading and instead write you. Your words to describe him really brought out his character as though he were selling me sodas from the page of the book! Such linguistic and poetic word play on the part of both of you.

I never begged during my spouts of homelessness but I did sell water on the streets of Tampa for two days after a panhandling ban went into affect. The Republican National Convention came into town and caused a great stir. Everyone who relied on panhandling had to relocate elsewhere; most went to St.Pete. Having been cursed with an innately rebellious nature from Eve herself, I thought to rally everyone up in the streets to hold blank pieces of cardboard along the intersections just to poke at the overlords of bureaucracy because technically we wouldn’t be panhandling, we would merely be standing with a blank piece of cardboard. But when you’re homeless, you have no energy to waste on activities that don’t work towards getting your basic needs met.

Your story about rain and moving to dry ground struck me with sadness but grounded me in gratitude because the reality is a rainy day might be a bummer to everyday people, but to a homeless person it means having to move your camp and risk getting a pneumonia.

I have only read to your account on Portland so far but wanted to reach out and share my gratitude to you and your friend for having had the desire to walk the walk. Having a first hand account of what it’s like to be homeless helps the way organizations designed to help them are operated. A willingness to help isn’t always beneficial in the long run. Many organizations get by with the bare minimum. A brown bagged lunch of a bologna sandwich and chips doesn’t say, “I care about you”. No, it takes a compassionate heart, listening ears, and a willingness to truly want to help in order to run an effective organization for the homeless.

I pray you good health and many blessings in Jesus’ name.

Caryn P.

Posted: 2020-01-23 07:46:05

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