In my apartment in the middle of Tulsa the normal sounds of the city are a part of my day.
There are trash trucks regularly trundling down the alley.
A John 3:16 Mission truck parks behind the restaurant in the strip mall to pick up food. Every day I see the John 3:16 sign on the truck over my fence. I hear them open and close the restaurant doors as they carry the food to their truck.
When I happen to see them while out on the patio, I think of the people they serve. The unfortunate who have fallen on bad luck and can’t climb out of the abyss they find themselves in.
I looked up this organization and here’s what I found.
On any given night, according to recent surveys, there are about 800 homeless people on Tulsa’s streets. Uncounted others remain, scattered throughout the city, though primarily concentrated in and around downtown Tulsa.
Annually, John 3:16 Mission provides about 29,000 overnight lodgings to homeless guests.
Approximately 6,000 people become homeless, at least temporarily, each year, some due to illness, job loss or an unexpected financial setback.
I see them everywhere. Standing on street corners holding hastily scrawled signs detailing their misfortune.
Pushing shopping carts containing everything they own. Huddling against buildings in the cold.
We all see them. But then the overwhelming sadness makes us turn away.
I look around me at this cozy home. Feel the heater come on that keeps me warm. I look outside at my car. It is 12 years old, but with very low mileage and running just fine.
I have much to be grateful for. The silence of my days. The fact that I am fortunate enough to be able to make money doing what I love.
I am rich in solitude and peace. In finally learning where strength comes from.
I have been better off and I have been worse off. I have lived in small homes and in large homes.
All in all, it really doesn’t matter, I’ve learned.
Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover:
You may know women who seem to have everything. A handsome husband and lovely children. She may have standing in your community and volunteer for charitable organizations.
You may find yourself admiring her lot in life. But you never know what it looks like once the door is closed. You can’t see what’s inside.
She may be a woman in an awful marriage with few options. In that instance, it doesn’t really matter where she lives. The walls are beautiful, but there may as well be bars on the windows.
There are all kinds of abuse. Physical abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse.
There are women in this country, right this minute, who fall into one or more of the above categories. Who desperately need help, but are afraid to ask for it.
George Herbert wrote in 1651: ‘Whose house is of glass, must not throw stones at another.’
I have to remind myself not to judge others. I know nothing about how a person came to live underneath a bridge. Or what led a woman to live in a glass house she can’t break out of.
I try to live by these words: Be thankful, be kind, and don’t judge.
During this wonderful and giving time of year, please remember them all.
Not just the homeless, but the hopeless as well.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson