Reflections Of My Life

Posted: March 31, 2008 in Acceptance, Friendship, Homelessness, Hopes

Sometimes my thinking processes are linear and follow some logical progression. At other times they seem to jump at random from one point to another seemingly without any real sense of order, but that usual occurs when I’m trying to find a solution to a problem. Then there are times, like today, when my thinking moves from one thought to the next by pure association.

This morning after I showered, I turned on the television to see what the weather was going to be like and then to see what was happening in the news.

During one of the commercials someone said the word "reflections." I didn’t think anything about it until about an hour later when I was standing in line to get a cup of hot chocolate at a fast food restaurant.  

The background music was playing, which I didn’t really pay attention to until an old, old song – from the 70’s – started playing. The song was "Reflections Of My Life" by a group called Marmalade.

As often happens with me, the song stuck in my head and kept playing itself over and over. Sigh.

The changing of sunlight to moonlight
Reflections of my life, oh, how they fill my eyes
The greetings of people in trouble
Reflections of my life, oh, how they fill my eyes

Those words had me thinking about the many people who I’ve met within just the past three years or so. While there have been a lot of really nice people I’ve met, the faces that kept coming to my mind were those of people who were, and in many cases, still homeless.

While I was thinking about all of this, the one thing I seemed to recall was how these folks seemed to talk more about the past than the present – or even the future. If and when they did speak about the future it always seemed to me that they did so with a tremendous amount of uncertainty. That may be one of the reasons they spoke most often of the past.

The past was something familiar; something that was generally cherished. It represented a time when the world around them seemed less harsh and foreboding. Back then, things seemed to make sense. Everything had a purpose. Life might have had its struggles, but at the end of the day there was hope that everything would look brighter in the morning.

But most importantly, there was sense of belonging. They had fit in someplace. There was a sense of completeness. There was a feeling of continuity. All of the pieces had fit together. Even through the worse of times they were whole.

In contrast, the present was filled with feelings of being outcasts. Fringe dwellers who didn’t feel welcome anywhere they happened to be at any given moment. Even those who would find fellowship with others of "their kind" at the homeless shelter or the day center, there always seemed to be an unseen boundary that they could never get beyond.

Even those who had made "close" friendships with others, there was still a holding back. Never being able to open up to anyone. Always maintaining the rest of the world at an arms distance. And, this would create a greater feeling of isolation.

Talking about the future was never something anyone really seemed to take seriously. Something deep inside of them said that their future might be one of being homeless perpetually. Not exactly something someone would enjoy thinking about.

The future was always something far away. Not something on the near horizon. Rather it was something that was more like a daydream instead of a possibility. So many had gone through times when the future seemed to be bright, but then would come the setbacks of when things didn’t go as planned. After a while, it was just easier to talk about the past than let one’s hopes rise only to have them crushed again.

Better to think no further than tonight’s dinner than tomorrow morning’s breakfast because there might not be any breakfast. Better to focus on what they were going to do in the next fifteen minutes than make plans for tomorrow. The many times they had faced a future that didn’t come to pass made it just too painful to want to keep experiencing the bitter pain of disappointments.

It may be a sad thing to live one’s life without hope. But, it’s nothing less than a terror to live one’s life in despair.

As I reflected on the faces of those homeless I’ve met in the last three years, I felt myself becoming buried by a sorrow that I haven’t felt in quite sometime.

How I wish that tomorrow morning I would wake up and those who have no place to call home could be made whole again.

Reflections of my life, oh, how they fill my eyes


  1. Your reflections filled Soul. Thanks for your gift of writing. Thanks for your gift of compassion.

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