Today we are honored to have a special guest writer for our blog, Kathy Nesmith Norris, she has the same heart and passion to minister to our friends that we have….Enjoy her thoughts…
At our final stop on Saturday with the Tent City Project, I met a beautiful lady who was very attractive and neat ….hair pretty, clean, and well dressed. Her little girl was dressed in a beautiful pink jacket. I complimented her on the color and she lit up in a big smile! Just looking at them … a lovely lady and her little girl… they could just as well have been my friends or my neighbors … OR they could have been ME …. just looked “normal” …. so naturally I was thinking surely to goodness y’all can’t be homeless…. y’all are here for some other reason. But …. wrong.
I asked her if they lived close by. She said that right now they are living in their car and it is parked in her aunt’s back yard in her driveway. The aunt is out of town on a trip, and she said she hopes they will be welcomed into her home upon her return this Thursday. She said she has also been parking the car one other place on a street, and that she’s having to be very careful to not be seen by law enforcement because her daughter is not in school.
I asked her if they needed a sleeping bag and they did. I handed them to her, and I said I want to give you a hug. I did, (about to burst) and I told her I hope things work out for them and that I would be praying for her. I said: I love you and Merry Christmas. She was so humble. I could just feel it when I hugged her. She thanked me and smiled, and told me her first name. I’m thankful that she wanted to tell me her name…, that she felt comfortable with me.
She also got some toiletries, but I didn’t watch to see what else she got. I did point her to where the blankets and pillows were.
I don’t suppose I will ever see that lady and child again… but I hope that she felt some love from within my heart, and felt that they were important to someone … to me.
As the days count down to Christmas morning, I think of that pretty little girl waking up in a car.
I hope that for all of the precious souls that TOUCHED ME this past Saturday… that maybe even through a glimpse into my eyes that they could see I genuinely cared about them, that I wasn’t there to be nosey or entertained. I hope that they didn’t feel less than me because they are not. They thanked each one of us who gave items out to them and I would say “You’re welcome”, but I didn’t even feel right using that reply because I wasn’t handing them something that came directly from me. I didn’t give up anything myself to give to them.
In addition, a few added a cheerful “Merry Christmas”, after their Thank you’s, and I thought WHO AM I that you who have nothing are wishing me to be “merry”. It didn’t register then but it sure does now. They have MORE than most all of us do… they have love to give and they truly care about others. Their hearts are full. They are real … they have nothing to be phony about, or wouldn’t even know how to be. They are just who they are. They care nothing about nice clothes or driving fine automobiles. What we think we HAVE to have means nothing to them. They want only enough to survive on, and they want no more. Many will do without before they will ask for items they desperately need. They are the meek, the quiet and humble ones. They are low and last in OUR thoughts. But God holds them dear to his heart. In his eyes they are first because He knows their true hearts. He provides for them just as He cares for the little birds in the cold cold wintertime.
These homeless friends truly care about the regular volunteers who go out weekly to check on them. If one of the workers is sick, they miss them and they send caring messages back by the other workers. Do WE even care that much about others … do we?
Many say these folks don’t need to be helped … that they don’t even try to help themselves. There are folks EVERYWHERE that “take advantage of the system”. You certainly don’t have to live in a tent flat on the ground to mooch off the system.
Yes, there are druggies, there are drunks… and truthfully I’m sure there’s some low-life scum that just don’t want to work and would love free hand-outs. But, many suffer with mental illness, many prefer dealing with the elements of the outdoors, fighting mosquitoes and gophers OVER dealing with human beings. … so they choose to live in PEACE in the woods… peace of mind with themselves first of all, and then with nature and with God. They PREFER that life … they choose that life …. rather than dealing with the things that many of us “normal people” attempt to deal with, and yet fail at many times.
The volunteers helping these homeless in Huntsville don’t just hand out and keep handing out. The men and women have to make an effort to help themselves. If they don’t they get no hand-outs. Many have jobs. Many work and save to move into low income apartments. How hard that must be to work and save to get to that point, but how PROUD they surely must feel….
The Forgotten Shall Be Forgotten No More