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I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Austin's 4th

We all have known desperation, some definitely more than others. Fear, hopelessness, loneliness, and add in a good sized portion of desperation; this is what I imagine it's like to live under a bridge where the coolness of the shaded concrete is the only escape for the homeless of Austin, TX.

The boys and I visited Austin over the 4th of July weekend. We enjoyed every minute of our weekend vacation. The drive to Austin took about three and a half hours, with lots of music coming from various ipods. We checked into our hotel on 4th Street, just a block and a half from Austin's famed 6th Street. We then headed to San Marcos and floated down the San Marcos River for a couple of hours on rented tubes. The weather was great and my getting to spend time with my boys even better. After a few hours of enjoying San Marcos we returned to Austin for dinner and the boys took off for the party that is 6th Street 'after dark'. After enjoying one of the best mexican meals I've ever had at a small hole in the wall cafe the next day, we headed home. It was a great trip.

Something that will haunt me forever was the homeless under the I35 overpass in Austin. I've seen homeless. Working in Indianapolis I'd pass many a homeless person still sitting in the doorways of businesses as they opened up for the day. Or, while living in St. Petersburg, FL, I'd see many of the homeless finding refuge on the beach at night once the crowds started to thin. Perhaps it's because I was with my children that Austin had such an effect on me, perhaps it's because my heart now knows personally the love of Christ, I don't know.

However, under the overpass there were several homeless, some with carts, one with a baby carriage, all heavily clothed even though it was Texas hot, lying on the pavement or propped up against columns. On each side of where these homeless residents had claimed as their own for whatever period of time, were parked cars. Most of these cars were the makes and models that only the rich or the over extended can afford. There were signs around that advertised parking, and there they parked, and walked by and through the homeless that sought refuge from the piercing sun.

The boys and I drove by this underpass several times, and it never failed to have the same impact on me. I can't help but wonder who these people are. What led them to where they are today and what is it that keeps them there? I've gone on-line to read about the many homeless shelters in Austin, and there are many; yet, there they stay, under I35's underpass. I wonder if they have families that go to bed every night wondering where they are. I wonder what they feel as people in their nice clothes get out of their expensive cars and walk among them to get somewhere they can't afford to follow. Where do you go when you're homeless? Why do so many refuse the assistance of the shelters, the organizations set up to help or all the different ministries that are specifically targeted towards the homeless? Do they ever get use to being stared at by some or the way they're ignored by others? And then there are the homeless that are also with children. How do you see the tears of hunger falling down your child's cheeks, with no way of providing comfort, and be able to draw that next breath?

There are many who say it's their choice to be homeless and let it go at that. I don't believe anyone without being mentally disabled can choose to be homeless. There are many who say they refuse to help the homeless because they'd use any help to buy alcohol or drugs...which is probably how they ended up homeless to begin with. Maybe that's true, maybe... All I know is that their being homeless is not only their problem, it's ours...because if it doesn't break our hearts it's because our hearts are hardened.

This morning at church they showed many parts of the movie Radio. I'd never seen this movie, but it'll be something we rent. The lesson was on the difference between compassion and pity. Pity is feeling sorry for someone while doing nothing. Compassion takes action. All I could think about were the homeless the boys and I had passed by, several times.

The boys and I have discussed things we can do. The things that three people can do may not have much of a result, but it's more than three people who do nothing will have.

Ephesians 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.


Blogger 3carnations said...

We have a large homeless population downtown where I live. It's hard to see, but hard to know what to do. We give to the food pantry at church...

8:06 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

3 c's ~ that is a huge contribution! Food pantry's get so low, I know of several church's that donate to one local pantry and the pantry still runs too low. Every single bit helps!

9:51 AM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

It is hard to see that. I don't see it much here, but in KC, I did. I feel bad that there are people who must live like that. You're right about helping as you can .... regardless of how much or how little you can do, it is more than they had before you came along. You're a sweetie. :)

12:28 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Bless your giving heart, Kathi, if everyone gave a little, it would be a lot.
We don't have much in the way of homeless here, it's a smaller city. I guess we're fortunate in that.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Johnnie Avocado said...

I work in DC, and the homeless are everywhere. It does trouble me, but it's something that I've learned to deal with. One time, a homeless man fed me a line about "trying to get home" and just needed something to eat. So I walked him over to the pizza shoppe and bought him food. Two months later, he came up to me with a different line. He had obviously lied to me before. ...and wasn't "trying to get home to georgia"

Also, just yesterday, a woman was outside Union Station, and begging for change and she had a steaming Grande coffee from Starbucks in her hand. I don't even drink that to save money!!

I think the problem is that many of us are burned when we have helped. There are so many that truly need help, but the brazen ones cause us to put up a shield. It seems a common theme here. I donate to my churches food pantry as well, and they go in and really help folks and monitor their progress.

7:36 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

lynilu ~ I don't see any around my area either, and I mean ANY. So, when I do see them, it's painful because I'm not "use" to it. We do have shelters that we always take clothes and food to in surrounding areas. The boys just gathered a lot of their barely used clothes and things and dropped them off one day a few weeks ago before we'd even gone to Austin, all while I was at work. We can all do something.

dabich ~ I'll take that blessing, lol. :) You know what, though...at one time or another, we're all vulnerable to being homeless.

johnnie ~ sales people lie, or stretch the truth for their commission. I can understand how the homeless would say what sells most to get what they need. I agree completely that they also lie, though, to get what they WANT, and if they'd been clear on the difference between what they want and what they need, chances are good that many of them wouldn't be homeless.

1:20 PM  
Blogger LoveLladro said...

I love finding a cause I feel strongly about and then doing something with it. Cancer research has my heart ;~)

7:02 PM  
Blogger Epsilonicus said...

Noticing is the first step. It is sad that majority of people have not even thought about the issue.

8:45 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

lovelladro ~ hon, have you ever noticed my 'Make A Difference' links under 'My Favorite Blogs'? They're our (the boys and mine) favorite causes to give to.

epsilonicus ~ amen, sweet stuff. You know how proud I am of you.

9:45 PM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

My partner, Madelene told me this years ago. Each time in the city when she walked to work, she would pass this homeless man who made an abandoned stoop his "home". He was there every single morning as she walked to the pharmacy where she worked. She decided since she was unsure about giving him money, she bought up a big sandwich from the Jamaican deli nearby. She never went without a day with a bundle of goodies. Then, one day, he was no longer there. She always wondered what happened to him or if he got help, or...if he had gotten sick.

We're hoping for the best.

Thanks for sharing this story Kath. You have such a huge heart for people. Your Christ light is beaming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:49 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

deb ~ geeze, now I want to know what happened to that man.
And my hearts not huge, and as a rule, I don't really like people very much. :)

4:15 PM  
Blogger Believer 1964 said...

"I am only one, still I am one. I can not do everything, still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do." - Helen Keller, US blind & deaf educator (1880 - 1968)

The movie Radio is awesome! I picked it up recently for purchase at Wal-Mart in a big bin for $5.00. Hope you find one!

I believe when we feel an overwhelming burden for a cause or need that often we are called to that particular ministry.

Keep us posted on what God would have you do.

I think praying for them is an effort we can all do though.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Thanks for sharing with us. You have made most of us think about what we can do as individuals and maybe that's just what God was expecting you to do. All of your readers are blessed to have come across your blog. Your stories really bring it home.

Glad you had a good weekend with the boys - I guess Casey will be back at school soon and Heather is headed that way too~ we're off to shop for dorm stuff this weekend. Boo Hoo!!!!! I only hope she strives to make a difference as Casey and Charlie both have done.

9:45 AM  

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