We passed a homeless man as we were walking to our car today. He had numerous bags, a wheeled cart, and he sat on the curb reading his bible aloud. Eloise took the two dollars she had out of her pocket and started to hand it to him even though he had no sign and wasn’t asking. He looked stunned at first but then smiled and said he wanted to read his favorite verse to us.
“Does he worry that it’s weird to read his book aloud when he knows no one is listening?” Eloise asked
I’m guessing that many people do listen. In their own way.
“I wish there wasn’t homelessness. It doesn’t make sense to me here in Minnesota when other people have so much. Why does it happen?” She prodded as we now drove home.
Many reasons – loss of a job, mental health, a fight with a family member, hopelessness, moving to a new place, a bad relationship, abuse, alcohol.... I answered carefully, but truthfully. It can happen to anyone.
“Well we need to find a way to get rid of it altogether.” She said quickly yet kindly and oh so hopeful.
Well that’s complicated. How do you think we could do that?
“By having the Mayors and Governors and the President helping all of their people thrive.”
That takes money – so more taxes for everyone to do this?
“Of course, rich people should give more but even just regular people like us should do more and give more and think of other people more everyday. If we all thought like that I bet people wouldn’t be homeless. And then the people who got homes and jobs could pay it forward to other people too – people who still needed homes. But someone has to start. Everyone has to start.”
I like the way you think, Eloise.
“No one should suffer alone. Do you think he’s alone a lot?”
Probably, but I bet he’ll remember you today.
“I think I’m going to do something about this soon. Do you think I’m old enough?”
More than old enough.