As I am beginning to give back, in the way I was given, freely and graciously, I am experiencing something that I never expected. Many do not understand the hardship of homelessness or poverty. For example, when I hadn’t showered in a while, how wonderful the hot water felt on my body! How when someone gave me a netted thing to wash my body, wow it felt like slice of heaven! I had layers of dirt and dead skin removed and then the lotion afterward made me feel like a new person.
New socks also are something that gave me hope! A toothbrush, a soft brush for my ratty hair, And always, the people gave with a smile and had genuine concern for me! I was a real person, not just ‘one of those people’. That is why I do what I can do to help others today.
I was told once to pay it forward and now I do. Oh I am far from perfect mind you, I was so high and/or drunk many times. I sold or traded some of the good stuff for more dope or booze. That was so wrong, but now that I am living a clean and healthy life, I remember not to pass judgement or assume that that is what they will do with the stuff I give to them.
I give with the desire to help even if it doesnt click in their minds now, give in the hope that they, like me, will see it one day, and do as I now do with appreiacation and gratitude. I tell my story often. Mainly to let others know that there is a way out, there is hope after dope, and maybe one day they will get out if they choose.
Some of the things that bother me is someone now who ‘helps’ but assumes. For example someone asked for a pair of socks for them and their child and was told no because they had been given a pair of socks last week! And that they needed to do laundry….. well my friends, thats not how living on the streets work! You wear your socks untill stinky and stiff and throw them away! The hardship of getting to a laundrymat, soap, the change, etc isnt easy or mainly doable! I gave the family socks! 2 pair actually!
A huge thanks to Fran at http://mitzvahcircle.org.