Many of us sit in comfort in our homes of multiple thousand square feet, with our nice lawns measured in either a fraction of an acre or in multiple acres. We have nice vehicles that are pretty reliable. We have our well-paying jobs that pay us enough for our necessities as well as for the nicer things in life. We enjoy our vacations. We enjoy the health we have. We sit down in the evenings and enjoy entertainment. And have no worry or thought that tomorrow will be any different. Why should we? We have what we need and many of the things we want. Is everything perfect – of course not. But really, we’re doing pretty well.
And many of us have no clue about another population that exists in our midst – usually just down the road. It’s a population that survives day-by-day. A population that lives day-by-day. A population that is constantly worried about what they will eat and where they will lay their head for the night.
This isn’t a lazy population. They aren’t living in luxury off of welfare. In fact, many don’t receive welfare, or what they do receive isn’t enough to make much difference in their lives. They aren’t going to the grocery store to buy lobster.
Many in this population work full-time. Are you surprised? They work full time and they don’t make enough to cover housing and the other necessities of life, like food, cosmetic necessities, feminine products, things for their kids, clothing, health care, and transportation.
They live in anxiety – it is a constant blanket that covers them each night. Only this blanket doesn’t provide warmth and comfort, but rather dis-ease.
Many have animals that they care for. Before you spout off about how these poor folks shouldn’t have animals because they can’t take care of themselves, realize a few things. These animals are often the only ones who offer these people actual love. These animals are the only ones who keep many of these people going to the next day – their animals give them purpose for going forward instead of giving up on life completely. Their animals are there for them when no one else is.
Many of the people I have come across lately are women. Their significant other left them – often left to fend for themselves and their children. Their men just up and left, some never to be heard from again. In some cases, that’s an improvement – at least they aren’t suffering domestic violence any more.
Our society is broken. There is no other way to describe a society where there are homeless women left to fend for themselves. We aren’t great – we’re broken. And for many, there is no recognition that society is broken. If it doesn’t affect you directly, then there isn’t a problem. The only problem with that belief is that the belief itself is broken. What happens to one in a society, impacts the rest. I know this because I’m willing to bet that as you read this you are felling some kind of emotion – maybe guilt, maybe anger, maybe motivation, maybe a combination of emotions. At any rate, you’ve been impacted without being homeless yourself. Your emotional state has been affected. And that’s just a small impact – tiny actually. But it’s a start.
Can we agree that we have a problem? That it’s a problem that we have people who are working full-time and can’t afford housing? Can we acknowledge that our society is broken – at least in this regard? Can we agree that something should be done? And not just throw money at the problem? Or just focus on the material?
Can we agree on just that? Once we agree to that, can we figure out what to do as a society? Can we move past the empty rhetoric of politicians and campaign slogans and propaganda? Can we actually deal with the problem?
I don’t want to live in a broken society. Correction: I refuse to live in a broken society. As Christians, we are called to participate in the unfolding of the kingdom. I take that call seriously. I pray that you do too.