Fractured by Kaze Gadway
Although I picture the street people that I encounter as having insights and fortitude and compassion, it is not the whole picture. As any community there are those who are resentful and bitter and resist change. Just like there is in any community of people.
The difference is that these people did not choose to come together for a purpose. They are homeless in desperation, by not having any other way of staying alive, by being forced into a stereotype of being drunk, deranged and disorderly.
As I handed out some snacks to the homeless last Saturday, one of the women says “I want some water. You don’t have water. Then what good are you?”
She acted like many other people I have known. She wasn’t violent or acting crazy, just saying the first mean thing that comes to her mind about what she wants. I meet these kinds of people all the time in non-homeless situations. So have you.
One of the concerns in which I guard myself is shrinking my world in which I see people and events in fractured bits rather than whole. Every time I go somewhere to sit and have a cup of tea, I find myself in a different world, a world in which people at each table are a world in itself and do not want to interact.
It is not that I do not enjoy solitude or respect the need to be alone. But I don’t want to shrink into closed off shadows. I want to be whole not fractured. I am my best when I see myself in relationship to the rest of creation, whether that be in solitary or community space. I am my best when I am open to depth interaction. This includes reading, contemplating and being on the streets with the homeless. Perhaps I have too many images of old people sitting in the room staring at the wall, relating to nothing. I walk the streets where I come alive and am immersed in people who respond, like I do, to kindness.
Someone smiles and waves at me on the street and I feel whole again.