I’m not sure if this would be in anyone else’s top ten list of what to be grateful for, but having a roof over my head and a place to call home is definitely in mine and the very thing I chose to write about in today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry.
Just as an FYI, the last time a global survey was done to see how many people were homeless in the world, it was found to be over 100 million people back in 2005. I’m sure that number would today would be far larger. But, as recently as 2015, a separate study was conducted where it was estimated that at least 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing on our planet. While I’m truly sad to learn these statistics, I do thank God I’ve never been able to count myself as one of them.
Not once in this lifetime have I ever found myself truly homeless, and in a city like Toledo, where I reside now and where the temperatures often fall into the negative digits during the winter like this one, I find myself being even more grateful to God. People die every day because of homelessness. Many of them tend to freeze to death in harsh climates like this. Others also die from poor health or from violent crimes they either resort to or are a victim of. So, when the wind chill has led to -10 degrees and more than once in recent weeks and where the snow and ice have piled up outside my front door just recently, I have really been thanking my Higher Power for providing me a place to keep me warm from all those frigid elements.
In turn, I have found great compassion for the many homeless people I come in contact with now, including at the place I volunteer every Wednesday for my 12th Step recovery work. There, the stories I regularly hear are heart-wrenching like people resorting to living in abandoned buildings with broken windows or on roach infested couches in drug homes or having to hop from one shelter to the next where sometimes they are even turned away.
I used to find it so easy to pass by those people on the streets holding those signs that say they’re homeless. How often I discounted them and simply assumed they were alcohol and drug users and needed to go get a job. I can’t do that anymore and instead am finding a lot more compassion for anyone who may be in a homeless situation because after all, I honestly can’t imagine myself standing on a corner in subzero temperatures trying to collect a few dollars to survive, especially in the state of health I’m currently in.
Nevertheless, God has always kept me warm with a roof over my head for the past 45 years of my life and for that, I’m truly thankful on this Grateful Heart Monday. Yet, at the same time, I find myself praying for everyone who can’t say the same, especially those who currently are dealing with homelessness themselves.
So, I pray that each of us who aren’t dealing with homelessness may find it within our hearts and souls to help anyone who is dealing with it in any way we can, even if it means simply offering a dollar to someone we might find ourselves passing by one day, standing on a corner, holding up a sign, during one of those harsh winter days…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson