I was out for a walk along the stream this morning. About two inches of snow had fallen last night. Everything was so pretty, covered in layers of white, and the air was so crisp and fresh. As I strolled along I admired the beauty of the pines, heavy with the new snowfall.
It was a sunny morning. The birds chirped and flapped their wings as they warmed themselves, singing to each other in a way that only they could understand. The stream glistened below as I walked over an old wooden bridge worn with age. I looked over the rail and saw the moss covered rocks below. Ice crystals had formed on the edge of the banks.
The warmth of the sun felt good on my face. I pulled up a seat on a large boulder and sat there a while enjoying the serenity of the moment. I closed my eyes and tilted my head back in a sweet surrender kind of way as I enjoyed the moment. When I opened my eyes and looked around I saw the squirrels playing in the distance and that's when I noticed some clothes laying on a large rock down stream. Upon further inspection, I realized that someone had washed their clothes and laid them out on the rocks to dry in the sun.
Looking around, I noticed that on the other side of the stream, amongst some brush and trees, tucked away so you could barely see, was a homeless camp. Some of the people were living in tents and others amongst the shrubs with blue tarps tossed over them for protection from the snow. I smelled the smoke of a campfire and heard voices.
I stood there near the edge of the stream and just took in the view for a moment. I was shocked. I suddenly felt afraid and I turned to leave. When I got home I questioned the nature of my feelings. Why had I been afraid? Why did that homeless camp shock me?
I suppose that what I'd seen was one of my worst fears. I find it hard to understand how anyone can be homeless in America, a country that is touted as the land of opportunity and the richest nation in the world. How can this be happening right in our own backyards? I sit here now writing this and am shaking my head in disgust because I feel there must be something gravely wrong in a nation that is supposed to be one of the richest in the world, when it's citizens have to live in tents on the edge of town.
We are facing some tough times in our economy. People are being laid off and there are home foreclosures everywhere. The little bit of money unemployment sends, is spent on the high cost of groceries and gasoline. There are tent communities springing up around the nation.
When my shock and disgust abate, I am left with sorrow. A sorrow so raw that it reaches clear to my soul. The situation is more than what one man can possibly help with, but with many of us joining hands in the community we can help to bring an end to these kinds of living conditions. Tonight before I fall asleep, I will send prayers for all of the unfortunate souls whose lives have drastically changed as the result of the falling economy. Perhaps you can send prayers too. With our combined energies perhaps we can create a change.
Written by JD