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  • Writer's pictureBelinda Lane

Discussion: Are You Okay?

November 13, 2020

(We salute our Veterans this month… Thank you!)

If we were to stand on the streets of our neighborhoods, we can never be certain what is taking place behind the many closed doors. We look at our neighbors getting in their cars or driving out of their garage, never knowing if they are truly ok. Now many are working from home and we don’t notice their cars leaving the garage or parking spaces in front of their residences. We don’t see the ones we ordinarily meet at the bus stop. In the meantime, to settle our own conscious we establish a faux peace in our minds that everyone is okay.

With cellphones and computers we were already socially distancing, we just hadn't given it a name. People have been suffering and now lives are hurting caught up in circumstances we can't imagine. Many have been able to fill up their refrigerator/freezer & many others haven’t. Paying bills hasn’t been a strain for some, yet for others they were already in a past due status, many with a cutoff date.

Admittedly, we realize many are hurt and scared. We can’t tell what is transpiring behind the locked doors in our neighborhood, but we realize all is not well for everybody. We are entering winter and cities have established task forces to discuss the actions needed regarding the homeless. The homeless population in the meantime continues to dealing with yet another phase full of uncertainties. In many cities there has been a decrease; nevertheless many will be cold and hungry this winter. Churches and groups have been in place over the years in providing for our homeless population.

I volunteered many years ago with a homeless shelter in Virginia. During that time, I became acutely aware that most times we stereotype the homeless. Being at “The Grace House” for a while, I listened to stories of varied illnesses causing persons to lose their job and without having insurance they lost everything. All losses couldn’t be attributed to illness. There was one case where a business owner’s partner left the country with their finances. The city’s greatest homeless populations were veterans of Vietnam and Desert Storm. The war had disturbed them in ways unimaginable.

I recall sitting in a conference over 35 years ago and a story I heard has remained with me to this very day. A female artist was their guest singer that evening. She recounted the story of her brother-in-law, who was an alcoholic and lived on the street most of the time. In his in-between state of mind, he lived in the garage in back of his parent’s home. She described how one day she noticed her brother-in-law going into the garage and followed him. The speaker said that the conversation that took place was so shocking that from that time on she knew she would never be the same.

Her brother-in-law was to drive one of the artillery trucks to the troops on the front line. His orders were for him not to stop for any reason. They directed the fellow soldier traveling with him that if he stopped, his orders were to shoot him, push him from the truck and proceed to the destination. As he was driving the designated route, he observed something in the roadway ahead. As they drew closer, he realized the road was covered with people, mostly the elderly and children lying on their backs. Naturally he attempted to slow down until he felt the gun to his head. Reluctantly he proceeded to drive over the people as their screams filled his ears. Sharing his story, he blurted out this is the reason he drank because he needed to quiet the screams and crying still in his head.

I have repeatedly in other discussions stated, “We can’t judge people by what we perceive and in turn label their behavior.” We don’t understand and will never completely feel another person’s pain. Many families and individuals were presently in crisis before the pandemic. Let’s make certain our hearts are open and avoid trying to guess if the person (s) is faking or actually in need.

This month we celebrate Veterans Day and I wish to give a heartfelt .“Thank You” to our veterans for their service. The transition has been hard for far too many. I also want to give a “Thank You” to Celebrate Recovery (CR) for their program for veterans called “Welcome Home” A Safe Place for our Military. Celebrate Recovery is in most cities throughout our country. Please see link below and visit their site.

Thank you for joining me for Friday at Sundown. Remember… Just Breathe!

"The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakened morning by morning, he wakened mine ear to hear as the learned. Isaiah 50:4,"

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