My Day Helping the Homeless
I once heard from a dear friend of mine that for you to really appreciate what you have, go meet those that do not have what you have. The realization of this fact never hit me until I took a trip to Connie Maxwell Home, South Carolina as a volunteer.
Often times than not, we get so used to the love and affection we get from our parents and loved ones that we forget that we are just privileged to have them. We get all the care, affection and love from those that are dear to us and we sometimes take this as our rights, we forget the poor dirty old man that walks aimlessly in the street, the little boy whose parents abandoned because they see him as a source of disgrace or the poor girl that lost her family to the hurricane disaster without someone that cares.
I woke up that morning and feeling low. Why am I so down? I asked myself. Just then I remembered I had a fight with my finance because he forgot to call me at work the previous day. “What were you thinking about?” I had asked I him in fury, obviously not looking for a reply. He stood there as I stormed out of the room. “Yes! “What was he really thinking about” Maybe he was hanging out with the girl next door” I told myself. I had gone to bed without answering all his calls.
I took my bath and lay curled up on my sofa. Just then, my friend Lind called and I poured out my heart to her, tears rolling down from the corners of my eyes. She told me that staying at home will not help and that I should just go somewhere where I will be around people so that I will not lose my mind. Then I remembered that Connie Maxwell Home just two blocks away were having a cookout and wanted volunteers. Little did I know that that was to be one of the days that will last in my memory for a long time.
I dragged myself there but on getting there, my sight touched me. I saw what words could not just explain. For the first time in a long time, tears flowed freely from my eyes. I saw children that just wanted a touch – just someone to say “I love and care about you”. Children that have never experienced love until they got to this Home. I was welcomed by the Matron-in-Charge and me told what I could help with. I just stood there looking, my kneels feeble and my body trembling. I was told to keep the children the children busy before the cookout was ready.
I saw a longing in these kids. They all wanted my attention and approval at the same time to the extent that when I told a little girl among them that she looked like an angel, they all started sulking and never stopped until I gave all of them pet names. That was the first time in my life that I felt so needed and wanted. I took turn in carrying them in my arms. This made them so happy to the point that they were blushing. They all wanted to be heard, they all wanted their presence to be felt and they all chattered and babbled without a care in the world. I was so filled with compassion for them. These are children that were born the same way I was, these are the children that see what we see as a right to be a rare privilege. At this point I had forgotten about myself and what I thought mattered. “ I could have been in the same shoes with these children” I said to myself.
The height of my day was when I spoke with one of these kids about how she got to the Home. The following conversation ensued between us
Myself: What is your name dear?
Laurie: My name is Laurie
Myself: How did a beautiful angel like you get here?
Laurie: I was told my parents dropped me nearby
Myself: Why is that dear?
Laurie: Maybe I am not good enough for them.
Myself: You know that’s not true?
Laurie: Are you sure?
Myself: Yeah, you know what I think?
Myself: I think they made the biggest mistake in their lives.
Laurie: Are you sure (she asked with tears in her eyes)
Myself: Yes! I said drawing near for a warm embrace.
At the end of that day, while strolling home, I had mixed feeling. I was happy that I was of help in the home and I felt bad about my seeming unappreciative behavior. If there was something I learnt, it was the fact that not everybody has what we take for granted. What some people need from you is just a “Good morning” and guess what? You just made their day. Little remarks and smile that cost us nothing actually mean a lot to the man standing next to you at the bus station who or the lady that just got sacked from her place of work.
Noah H. Kersey, Ph.D., Dr.. (2006, January 11). Unadopted Orphans: Citizens of Another Universe. Ezine Articles. Retrieved September 18, 2007, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Unadopted-Orphans:-Citizens-of-Another-Universe&id=126383
Smith, A. Queer Socio-Political Strategies and the Transnational Stratification of Reproductive Rights Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association <Not Available>. 2006-10-05 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p113999_index.html