Saturday, June 7, 2008

An Open Letter to My Homeless Friend

By Mary Stronach, SFO

We speak briefly at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen. You smile and tell me how great the soup is. “It’s the best soup in town.”

Such small talk must hide many scars – of war, of a lost childhood, of lost love, lost companionship, lost work, lost home, drug use, alcohol, emotional setbacks. Whatever it was, something happened that put you into a tailspin. One morning you found yourself homeless and alone.

How was your childhood different from mine? How did you end up under the overpass and how did I end up living in the country? Why do you have to worry more about the cold and rain than I do? Why do I have the pleasure of a daily shower, clipped nails, clean clothes, hot meals, and a warm bed?

If we’re both children of God, why is our earthly inheritance so different? Homelessness was never your goal, hunger was never your intention.

Yet, here you are, walking through Christ’s passion.

Here you are. Hungry and homeless. Your “bed” is a bush or a patch of grass. The sum total of your belongings fits in your pockets or an old grocery cart.

Where do you go from here? Are you at the point that you don’t even see beyond your next meal at the soup kitchen? Do you ask yourself the same questions we all ask in life? “What is my purpose? How do I get there? Where is the meaning of my life?”

Trust in the Lord. He will care for you.

Many years ago I heard a man sing the following song. He was previously homeless and a recovering alcoholic.

“Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.”

If He loves and cares for the sparrow, how much more does He love you? Open yourself to His healing love.