Please enjoy this post by our Guest Writer Kathy Nesmith Norris…
Thank you Kathy for your loving, thoughtful post!
My heart aches for our homeless friends. I sometimes feel guilty that I have so much and they have so little. Winter is approaching. I know the hot smothering days we’ve been having have been so hard on our friends, but I know they surely dread the cold days to come. What amazes me is that these sweet people remain cheerful, and seem to accept what each day holds for them. But, there are so many things that I wonder about them. I wonder… do they just live one day at a time, or do they look ahead to the future like we do? Do they think about where they will be in a year, five years, ten years? Maybe some do and some don’t… just as we all do?
I wonder about their cold days of living in a tent or under a tarp flat on the ground, layering as many warm clothes as they have, sleeping in sleeping bags, adding any additional cover that they have. I wonder if, during the day when the temps are at freezing if they get in their sleeping bags to try to stay warm.
I suppose that one good thing positive thing for them in winter is that winter’s cold keeps their milk, drinks, and sandwich meat at a safe temperature level, like a refrigerator or freezer.
Campfires have always been fun to me. I love the beauty of the fire and the scent of the wood burning. I have memories of bonfires at high school, fires built with family and friends to roast hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks or coat hangers. They have such a great taste cooking them like that in the great outdoors. I’ve seen movies where homeless people lived under bridges or around old buildings and built fires in barrels. Our friends’ campfires aren’t for fun, and their living conditions are not like camping out. I wonder what their campfires look like. Do they go out and search the woods for fallen branches to burn, or what do they burn? I’ve seen where some good folks take loads of cut up firewood to camps, but how do they distribute it? Do they all get wood delivered? I’m sure it goes fast when keeping a fire going constantly. I wonder if they cook or warm up all their food over these fires. Do they have a rack sitting over the fire to hang pots of food to cook like I’ve seen on old westerns? That’s what I picture in my mind.
My imagination can go to the extreme at times, I suppose. I don’t think I could live in a camp of being around people all the time. It would be quite an adjustment. I love my privacy, my quiet time, my alone time. I would be a Jim and Richard, living out away from the larger population. I wonder how long it takes a person new to being homeless to adjust to their new life, their new environment, living in the elements of whatever Mother Nature subjects them to, to their new friends and neighbors, of feeling hunger pains in their empty stomachs much of the time. I would imagine that some NEVER fully adjust. It seems to me that they have to be emotionally as well as physically strong to endure this lifestyle.
Where do our homeless friends keep all their clothes? I imagine that there must be piles of clothing and blankets filling their tents to always crawl or walk over. I have been to see one homeless camp, but I did not see the insides of any tents. I have seen pictures posted on Facebook that showed inside some tents and I personally thought they looked neat and organized, considering they had very little to work with. I suppose they are just like us, some are as organized and clean as they can be, and some just don’t care.
After dark, I wonder how much light they have. Do they go ahead and go to sleep when darkness approaches? Do they sit around campfires? Do they tell stories, laugh, and cut up? Somehow, I doubt that. When morning arrives, what time do most get up? What do they do then… gather together, drink coffee, and talk? Do they have any breakfast food?
I know that if I became homeless and were thrust into the situations our friends live in, I would probably cry for days, crawl into my own little shell, fear all the people around me, trust totally no one, and want to just die to escape that life that I didn’t choose for myself.
My heart would hurt if my family wouldn’t have anything to do with me, didn’t care that I had no food, wouldn’t save me from the despair of being homeless. I would wonder WHY… why would they not help me? Had I done something so bad, or lived so wrong, that they choose to push me out of their life?
There are so many things that I’ve wondered and will continue to wonder about our friends. Questions come to mind quite often. I think of all our friends when the weather is stormy, winds are fierce, heavy rain is predicted, days are scorching and dry. I wonder how they are going to fair through it all, and then I’m always glad to see a post by Angie or Larry about how they are, how God has once again laid his hand of protection upon them.
Our invisible friends live in a world that we can’t relate to, that some people relate to, that some people refuse to relate to, but I DO choose to relate and do what I can to help them. There is something everyone can do, and if we each do even the smallest of a good deed, it all counts.
I personally feel that my love for our friends is my calling later in life, and I’m sure Larry and Angie do also… something none of us would have ever dreamed of!