( Family Members Left Behind )
By: Esther Kay
January, 4th, 2022
It’s often said that the “squeaky wheel gets the oil” and goodness knows—the people who tend to give us all the most common picture of what homelessness means tend to be on the extreme end of the spectrum.
We see the surface; the filth, the broken body–often the broken mind which manifests itself through manic, sometimes violent behavior, the disheveled hair and stained clothing.
That’s what we see…
What we feel when faced with these surface conditions depends largely on our own personal experiences and beliefs about people in general, and especially about people experiencing homelessness and/or mental illness/addiction.
Some people when they encounter this individual will be afraid.
Perhaps they have been assaulted by someone on the street.
Maybe they fear what they don’t understand.
Some will be disgusted–many more will have this reaction than would care to admit –but it’s true.
Most will simply ignore this person, too busy to bother, or too selfish to care.
A few will be angry—angry that this individual has “marred” their day with the inconvenient reality of their existence.
I’ll tell you one thing though;
I bet few (if any) who pass this poor person will be thinking about his mother.
His mother who wonders, day and night, where her child is.
His mother-- trapped in her own limitations, whether financial, emotional, or whatever the case may be—-she has been unable to heal his wounds.
Unable to restore his sanity.
Unable to bring him home.
I can tell you as a mother myself that my deepest desire and need is to ensure my child’s safety.
Equally important is the need to ensure that my child feels loved, valued and cherished.
The thought of my own baby out in this cruel, cold world with a mind lost within itself and surrounded by people who would rather see her kicked to the side of the road than to take the time to say hello—well—--it brings me to my knees.
No one should have to experience that fear, that self loathing, or sense of failure–because even if she did everything within her power to save him–a mother will still blame herself.
She will still wish with all her heart that she was able to trade places with her child and save him from pain and abuse.
You may be wondering where i’m going with all of this…
Well let me tell you;
Just as this fictional person is so deeply loved and valued by his fictional mother—so are we all deeply loved and cherished by our Heavenly Father.
It is for this reason that all of us at Camp Hope approach each person experiencing homelessness the way we do—with dignity, love and respect.
You see, I believe that if we all thought about each person experiencing homelessness the way that a mother thinks about her child–or a sister thinks about her brother—and so on—so many more people experiencing homelessness would move from a place of trauma and into a place of healing.
Its from a place of healing, of knowing that we are loved and have value--- it’s from that place that true and lasting change begins.
So I’d like to challenge you dear reader to be a part of that change–starting today.
Simply start by changing your own thinking--and see where that change takes you.
Because it takes a village --but together—-we can build hope.
I hope that this article has provoked your thinking a little bit.
If you’d like to learn more about how to help build hope for people experiencing homelessness in the Yakima Valley, please visit us at: www.camphopeyakima.com