I walk past the homeless shelter every night on my way home from work. Every winter night there is a long line – probably one or two hundred – people who are waiting for a warm place to sleep for the night. They’ll be ejected back out into the elements in 10 or 11 hours, but for now, they might escape frostbite.
It never gets any easier to see so many people wanting for something so basic –
– a warm dry place to become unconscious for 8 hours –
something you and I probably take for granted.
Salt Lake City is one hell of a place to be stuck outside in the winter.
I wonder why they are there, and why I’m here. I know enough about homelessness to know that they aren’t any different from me.
…just one roll of the dice different, I suppose.
I think about all the stupid decisions I’ve made, I think about all the strange turns of events my life has taken during the past few years…
I’m no different than they. I wonder why – but then I catch myself wandering into judgement.
I look up into the dark sky, I contemplate the wonder of being a passenger on this small blue marble spaceship that slowly meanders through the big, beautiful cosmos –
– I look up, I try to peer through the atmosphere into infinity –
– and I wonder if there is a gracious God out there who somehow has helped me along my way.
I thank that God, (supposing one is out there somewhere), for the warm safe apartment I’m about to enter for the night. I become – for lack of a better term – embarrassed, by how beautiful and overly sufficient my accomodations are, as I look over my shoulder at the house of those who have nothing.
In that same instant of reverberating with gratitude, somehow – my thanks turn to a strange concoction of anger, disappointment, speculation, and concern. I cannot help but notice that he has not helped my fellow travelers as he has helped me.
After all, I’m no different than they.
Why not them?