I have a very sad tale about my youth. There used to be a very ancient man who stood in the entrance of the local Drug Store in our, very Christian, small town, who kept complaining to all and everyone that, "Did your stomach ever just burn?" My Mother thought he was just hilarious, until she told me about it. I, being the only one with any Buddhist background in the town, asked her why no one would actually go into the Drug Store and get him something for what evidently was an ulcer---which finally destroyed him? I never had the chance to do so before he died, but I was aghast that no one took any Compassion on the old man who stood in the doorway of the very place that could have helped him. We all must be alert to such situations, and rather than laugh, give all the Compassion and help possible!

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Comment by Rev.William Joseph Hartshorn on July 19, 2009 at 3:05pm
One thing I have heard about human nature,that many people want to help but are afraid. Sadly I experienced that type of situation in the past. Fortunately I have gained enough strength through life that I can overcome that fear,and I am not afraid to help today.
Comment by Susan Thomas on April 1, 2009 at 11:51pm
Not having shelter is a little different than not having a "home," As humans, we need shelter. Admittedly, here in Tucson, shelter is a little differently viewed than in most places, where shelter from the sun is more important than shelter from the other elements. Food, water, clothing, shelter and self-esteem (in terms of recognizing oneself as having needs) seem basic to keeping body and soul together to go on to the bigger questions of life. Like the man in front of the pharmacy, whose body kept him from asking anything other than questions about a burning feeling in his stomach, people with no shelter from "the elements" are not in a position to move beyond that space. The point Andrew was making is that we need recognize the open invitations that we receive. We cannot rush in and "make things right" by our own standards, but we can respond to honest requests for attention and respect. (I can relate, as I have lived in very few places where I felt at "home")
Comment by Susan Thomas on April 1, 2009 at 9:00am
Ahhhhh, isn't it interesting what we keep with us all our lives? (and maybe beyond?) For the last three months I have been placed in a situation where I am immersed in homelessness every day, at my work and on my way home from work. I live and work in an area where there are homeless within my reach every moment.
A man who appeared to be about my age, but I'm betting is much younger, walked up to me last week while I was sitting on a ledge with a full bag of groceries, just taking a moment to look around and in broken Spanish began to tell me something I couldn't quite understand. Fianlly, I understood that I was sitting where he normally sleeps. We talked for a while, and he showed me a scar on his abdomen and told me that he had been stabbed and robbed in California. His family remains in Puerto Rico. He did not show any recognizable symptoms of mental illness. He also did not ask me for any food. Considering I had a full bag of groceries, I was amazed as I was ready to hand over the croissants if he had but asked. Before I walked away, I asked his name, and shared mine. We shook hands and he smiled. He wasn't interested in feeding his body, but he had the bravery to strike up a conversation with a woman who was "sitting on his bed." Three or four days later I was walking home and saw him on another bench. He didn't recognize me until I said his name, then his eyes lit up, and he felt connected. So did I.

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