Homelessness is not easily recognizable

January 24, 2023

I recently had the opportunity to meet nine very nice gentlemen. You see, it was my first night to sign in the men at the St. Judes Code Purple shelter. I considered myself aware of the situation of homelessness in our communities, but I now find I am looking at things differently.

The men came in cars, on bikes, on foot or on the bus provided for them. They rushed to open the door for my husband and me. They greeted me with a firm handshake and a smile and a kind word. Many thanked us for our time. One even sang to us. They helped around the hall with setup and cleanup; they helped each other out. They sat and conversed with each other and us. I found I didn't want to leave when my time was over.

They taught me a lot in that short hour.

Homelessness looks a lot different this morning.

Homelessness might be the guy working the counter at McDonald's.

Homelessness might be the guy on the bike flying by on his way to work. 

Homelessness could be the person buying lunch and coffee at Wawa.

Homelessness might have a bachelor's, master’s or doctorate degree. 

Homelessness could be the driver in the next car at the traffic light.

Homelessness might be the person holding the door for you at the grocery store.

You see, homelessness is not something you only see pushing an old cart on the side of the road. It has crept into every aspect of our existence. Having a job and an education does not guarantee that a person can afford to live in a house. Many things can make this an impossibility and not be the fault of the individual.

The gentlemen I met were very kind.

They rushed to help me stand to reach my walker.

I did learn that you can't recognize homelessness through a pair of their tired, weary eyes. All I saw looking in their eyes was Jesus Christ. Today, my heart is full. I will pray for each and every one of these nine gentlemen every day. They taught me so much. Thank you very much for the opportunity to meet you. And thank you Father Brian Lewis for providing the space to shelter these wonderful people. 

Susan M. Short


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