What has happened to the citizens of our country?

Last night, I was going about my merry way. I don’t even recall where I was when I saw a sight that stopped my heart.

A beggar.

Now, I know they are all over. And, usually, they are holding signs that state something eloquent like, “Will work for food.” I see these Unfortunates all over my fair city. Sometimes I help them – going against the voices that ring through the atmosphere calling out, “They should be working for food, not standing on a street corner, begging for money.”

Who am I to judge their place in this world, this life?

My only concern is will I choose to help this person today? It is not mine to hold what the person chooses to do with that money. What is mine is if I choose to help the least of these my brethren.

At any rate, this was just not any beggar. This was a disabled vet, according to his sign. I could vouch for the disabled part – he was without the lower part of his left leg from the knee down. And I guess I could assume the camouflage clothing he wore could be the clothing of a veteran. I will just have to take his word on that one.

He maneuvered awkwardly to the corner, swinging his crutches clumsily while his cardboard sign bounced against his chest as it hung from a frayed rope around his neck. His mobility was further hindered by the fact that he had a dog leashed to his belt. I have never been able to understand why homeless people have pets. Having never been homeless, I cannot fathom the sense of insecurity that would create. So, perhaps those pets are a reassurance, a comfort, a warm body. Another mouth to feed?

I ask again, what has happened to our citizens? What has happened that we have veterans – the very people who have fought for our freedoms and the freedoms of those in other lands – standing on the street corners begging for help? What has happened inside them that they feel their only means of coping, of surviving, is to stand there helpless, hopeless, impotent and beg for help? Why do they have to beg? Why are they homeless? Why, in this modern age of technology, why are any of us homeless or poor or starving or begging?

Some would say it is a choice. Some would call them free-loaders or bums or the dregs of society. Some would call them a drain on our economy. Some would say “those people” are just lazy and it’s not their responsibility to take care of the homeless.

And some would call them Brother.

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2 Responses to Homeless

  1. karin says:

    After living thru very disabling OCD, i understand how close we all are to being homeless. Our brains and bodies are such precise delicate things that it is really a miracle how healthy most of us are. During my bout with ocd, i was unable to do much, and knew that had i not been married, I might have ended up homeless. I looked fine from the outside, but certainly wasn’t on the inside.

    • Angie K. Millgate says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Karin. I cannot imagine living with disabling OCD and can appreciate your point of view. I am grateful, too, that you had someone to care for you and shelter you during your bout with OCD.

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