Making the Connection

Posted on August 6, 2015 by gschaywood

August 6, 2015 – “I have always made it a point to not discuss “hot topics” such as religion and politics on Facebook. However, as I am reflecting on this past week in San Francisco, I am leaving with a very heavy heart. The homeless problem in this city is like nothing I have ever experienced.

We all have had moments where we have encountered “panhandlers”, and felt frustrated as to why people don’t just “get a job.” However, the people I encountered, these human lives were for the most part mentally incapable of “panhandling” let alone ever being able to sustain any kind of employment or even care for themselves.

They were covered in months of caked on filth, some unable to coherently utter words just guttural grunting. However, when I stopped to look in their eyes I saw their souls. It makes my heart hurt. I can’t help but feel that there is some higher moral obligation as human beings to care for these souls in some way. I honestly don’t have any motive in posting this. I just felt that I needed to write this down so that I personally can be more mindful of the human condition.”

A friend of mine posted this on his Facebook feed after visiting San Francisco.  It touched my heart in a big way. I have thought about it all morning.  Often those who are not in healthcare miss the connection between mental health and homelessness.  It made me think of some of the precious souls we see at the clinic.

Although the mental health system in WNC has greatly improved over the past 10 years, there is still a great need of education, insight, and accessibility in our area.  From the alcoholic who can’t get a bed at the local hospital, to the misunderstood patron at the Open Door, change in systems and attitude are hard to initiate.

But being aware in a spiritual way is a door of opportunity we can all open.  We can all pray for a better understanding.  We call all give a touch to a hand that shows we care.  We can all pray for better solutions and for God to show us our individual gifts that could make a difference.

And if you have further interest there is a book I would encourage you to read.  “Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America” by Mike Yankoski takes you from middle-class to experience life on the streets of six different cities in America.  It is a moving read and brings me to tears.  I read it every year and take something new and different away with each read.   Donda



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