Christmas is officially behind us and the New Year is less than a week away. I haven’t posted in a couple of days. It isn’t that I’ve forgotten about it. It isn’t that I’ve been too busy. Rather it’s been that I’ve been struggling with a number of thoughts and emotions that would have shown up in whatever I wrote – and I’m not ready to share those with anyone quite yet.
Right now, my other half and I are not in San Luis Obispo. We needed a break from the life we’ve lived and known for the past two years, so we made the trip to another part of the state where we have family and friends. We are visiting with one of our grown children who has a family of his own. It was a good feeling to be in different, yet familiar surroundings. It felt wonderful to wake up on Christmas morning and hear the sounds of family.
It may seems foolish to have spent the money to make the trip, especially since we are struggling to get regain enough of a firm footing to move ahead in life, but the truth is that the only way we’ve been able to psychologically and emotionally survive the experience of homelessness has been to do something "normal" for ourselves every now and then. It isn’t always easy and many times it can be something as simple as going out to eat someplace other than a fast food restaurant or even just going to see a movie.
This year, unlike the last two Christmases, we’re what I call transitionally homeless: we don’t have to worry about trying to get a bed at the homeless shelter and we don’t have to worry that if we aren’t able to get a bed at the shelter that we’re going to have to find someplace under a bush or behind a building to sleep. And unlike most of the other homeless, we are forced to try and find a place to be during the day.
Although we don’t really have a "place of our own" yet, neither are we dependant on homeless support service organizations. We’re somewhere in between, which is why I keep referring to us as transitionally homeless.
It’s been a struggle just to get to this point in our lives and, I must admit that it’s a bit frustrating. I can see that we’ve been able to move forward and "raise our standard of living" but, we are still some distance from being where I would like to be in life.
Being around our family has been healing and yet at the same time, it’s also been a reminder of the struggles of what we’ve gone through over the past two years.
Some may wonder why we don’t simply move in with some of our family – after all, there are many people who avoid homelessness by doing just that: they move in with family or friends.
Despite what many may think, it isn’t about pride, nor is it about being too stubborn to accept help from family and friends. The reality is that with the condition the economy is right now and how it’s been over the past few years, we just don’t want to become a burden on anyone else. After all, like so many other American’s, our families and friends are struggling to maintain their lives as well. They certainly do not need the additional burdens of having to worry about "mom" and "pop."
Where we are fortunate is that we have those who love and care about us. There are so many of this nation’s homeless who do not. They are alone in the world. They have no one who from whom they can draw some type of comfort and strength to face their day to day struggles. Their entire world revolves around the sterile and impersonal atmosphere of homeless support services organizations.
With the pending New Year, there are so many who are making resolutions of what they wish to accomplish in their lives within the upcoming year.
I hope that one of those resolutions will be to allow themselves the permission to behave toward the homeless of this nation with a little more human kindness.
That would make 2008 that much more nicer for all of us.