An Open Letter…

Posted: May 4, 2007 in Employment, Homelessness, Hopes

Dear José,

Tomorrow is the 5th of May – two months exactly since the premiere showing of Suckerfish.

Since then, there have been quite a number of interesting and remarkable things happening in my life. And, as you’re probably already aware, I’m working again. That in itself the best thing of all.  

Right now, I’m working on two web sites – one is a full design (from the ground up – as it were) and the other is a re-design. I have to tell you, I’m pretty excited about it – as you can well imagine.

I’m certainly not going to get rich from just these two projects, so any "early" retirement plans I may have had when I was younger man will just have to wait. And it’s just as well because, to tell you the truth, I like working. And, it isn’t just about the money – although getting paid for working at something I enjoy helps. For me, it’s knowing at the end of the day that I have done something valuable with my time. And, although the two websites I’m currently working on are small, modest projects, I see in them the beginning in a series of steps that lead toward the restoration of my life.

The day you first interviewed me for the documentary, all I was hoping to for was to get up a few dollars in my pocket – just enough to get me through the day. I’m sure that, like me, you didn’t know just how huge an impact our first meeting was going to have in my life – and that it would occur quite as quickly or in the manner it did.

When you pulled into that parking space – not more than 15 feet from where I was standing – you didn’t get out of your car. You just sat there. I didn’t think anything unusual about that since there are a lot of people who park at that supermarket waiting for someone else to finish their shopping. But, then I could "sense" that you were watching me. At the time I didn’t know why – until you walked over to me and commented about the sign I was holding and the phrase: "Homelessness Can Afflict Anyone."

When you asked if you could interview me for a documentary that you were directing, I seem to recall asking if you worked for a government agency or a homeless support services organization. Had you said "yes" one of two things would have happened: either I would have just walked away from you or I would have given you a piece of my mind. Now that I think about it, it probably would have been the latter.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against government agencies that work with the homeless or any homeless support services organizations. It’s a good thing that they exist; otherwise there would be nothing for the homeless to rely upon. But, considering that I’m a passionately vocal individual I have been, on several occasions, approached by a number of these groups who would like me to "say something on camera." The end result is usually a bunch of propaganda designed to help increase their funding – very little of which actually filters down to the homeless. So, most of the time, if someone asks to interview me for something of that nature I refuse.

When you explained that the documentary was to bring to light the plight of the homeless I could tell that you were sincere and that your motives were indeed honorable. That’s the reason I agreed to allow you to interview me that day and then again on the next.

Attending the film’s premiere showing, it’s reception gathering afterward and the subsequent encore showing on the 11th of March were the impetus for all that has occurred in my life in the last 7 or 8 weeks – the starting of my blog on homelessness, having had numerous persons provide me with the tools and other means to get back to work and, most importantly, a renewal in my own self-esteem. It has become one of the most remarkable periods of my life. It has also taught me quite a bit about the compassionate and giving nature of the human spirit.

Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learned is about hope. So many times, as I’ve reached a point of near desperation, someone or something has come along and has helped to lift my spirit. This has had the by-product of giving me a sense of renewed hope for my future. It seems such a long time since I’ve actually looked forward to waking up in the mornings.

I have no idea what the future has in store for me, but I think that’s the way it should be: it makes the experience of getting there all the more exciting.

Being neither a philosopher or theologian, I’m not qualified to say whether it was chance or destiny that brought you past that spot where I was standing that day. Perhaps it was both. Regardless I’m grateful for the opportunity to have met you.

My hope is that Suckerfish will be shown many more times in the future. And, I hope that all who have the opportunity to see the film will come to recognize that the homeless are people: people who simply don’t have a home, but people nonetheless, who have dreams and hopes for a better life. People who would love a chance at being "restored."

Have to go now. Have to do some work…

Yours In Gratitude,
– michael –

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