Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Mile in Their Shoes...If They Even Have Shoes

       Last night was the first time in years that I have been able to help with our Tuesday night community meal. It was so refreshing and metaphorically recharged my batteries. Lately my attendance has been scarce since I have been having to work as much as possible to make ends meat.

         One gentlemen whom attends these meals is always a bright spot in my week. He has a brilliant since of humor, and is normally a joy to be around.

        His name is Dave and has lovingly nicknamed me "Harmony" since I am a singer and musician.  He is NOT an addict of any kind and if you did not know his personal story you would never guess that he was homeless based on his appearance.  Dave has had some really bad luck but has typically kept a good attitude.  I walked up to him last night expecting to hear a joke or witty comment, but instead he looks like he is fighting tears.

          Dave recently discovered that he can not work anymore. Years ago Dave was a contractor until he worked himself so hard that he ruptured a disc.  That is when he started to lose everything. When he became homeless he took temp work as a VERY part time laborer to meet his basic needs (coffee, clothes, hygiene, pain medication, etc.). Even though he was trying to care for himself the pain only allowed him to work 10-15 hours a week.  He has done this for years but now the pain is getting unbearable and the doctors have told him that he can no longer work until he gets a major procedure done. He will need to be bed ridden for weeks, but he does not have a room.

He was asking me what decision he should make.

A) Not work, and live with the pain as is,  but be jobless and ridiculed as being a "bum".
B) Work until he can no longer move and possibly do serious damage.
C) Get the procedure and get a major infection and/or do more damage because he is homeless and must move constantly.

         I had no idea what to say. I asked him, "If disability was an option"? He explained that he was denied coverage. He told me that he discovered that back problems are almost always turned away for benefits. He then told me that many of his homeless friends have that exact disability and receive no benefits.

         Certain politicians like Paul Ryan will tell you that most homeless people abuse they system. However, many are just disabled. Dave is willing and yearns to provide for himself, but he cannot. Not only is he unable to care for himself but our evil country has denied him aid. They will say these kind of services our a waste but the GOP has no problem spending almost 1.4 trillion dollars on yet another failed military expenditure this year!

         Paul Ryan needs to take my job (and salary) for a few weeks and see if that does not change his perception. People like Ryan have no idea what it is like to struggle or provide in the face of inability. This poisonous philosophy has gone on long enough and it is time for us all to realize that when it comes to homelessness:

We do not know what the hell we are talking about if we live in a home!  Especially a home like Paul Ryan's!

-For The Kingdom