We’ve been spending the week trying to get our family moved into their new place; we’re so happy that they have a home to call their own. People have been offering furniture, bedding, kitchenware and kid stuff-it’s been beautiful to see. We need more love and beauty in this world.
I recently went to see “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”, which I encourage you to see if you haven’t yet, because one of Fred Rogers’ beliefs is that people need to love and be loved in return. One of the most important things that we teach our children, and each other is that we are worthy of love, and that we are also capable of loving others. Mr. Rogers passed away in 2003, and I wonder how he would feel today about the current state of our country and politics. I hope that he would continue to preach love, and that people would listen.
I’m very excited to say that our big family moving into their new house isn’t the only win we have this week. One of our community members who has been living in a tent also got housing, and the Love Wins volunteers have been busy getting him set up with sheets, bedding, household items- everything that he needs to enjoy his new space. We’re also proud to say that tons of folks got jobs in the past few weeks!!! We have dressed up people for interviews, made sure they had what they needed and tomorrow, I’m even taking our artist, Matthew to a job interview! We’re so proud of our folks, and we use love and kindness to get them to the next step of their life journey. They’re our friends and our neighbors.
I was talking to our volunteer, Reanie today, and she said something that rang so true. She said “Everyone I’ve talked to today is experiencing grief.” The loss of someone dear is a key part of nearly every person’s story here at the center. We allow people to grieve, we talk about that grief, and help people process their grief in their own time. I feel as though, if more people understood that, they would have more empathy for homeless people. I feel like Mr. Rogers was the type of person who did for children what us, as every day adults can do for one another. “I like you just the way you are. Your feelings are scary, I understand that. You feel sad and try as hard as you can not to be sad. We’ll get through this together.”
After people travel through this journey, they come back to our mainstream society as our neighbors. They move into houses, apartments, rooms, and have jobs everyday, working right beside us. I can’t tell you how often I meet someone at a social event, tell them what I do, only for them to tell me, “You know, I used to be homeless once. It started after *insert loss here*.” It’s far more prevalent than people think. Welcome people to our community with open hearts. Give them space to heal, and when they’re ready, remember Mr. Roger’s words: “I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you. I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.”
To my friends who are now indoors, we’re so proud of you, and we’re happy that you’re our neighbor!