ImageThe statement “It’s not my problem”, is so profound, you literally can say it and walk away! Yet, as I go to the homeless shelter every day, I find myself knowing that this is my problem, this is my neighborhood and these people in the shelter could very well be my neighbors. They are my neighbor’s, they just do not have an address or a door with a key to call their own. So as I sit in this shelter on this particular evening, I am getting involved in my neighborhood and trying to help resolve its problems.

No one should ever be homeless! Everyone should have their own door to open and close and lock, day in and day out. The so called American Dream has been washed away, gone out to sea and until we all do something about it, it could be gone forever! So I press on, and as I walk over to this young woman I see at the shelter, I realize she could very well be my daughter. I am overtaken with a pure passion for compassion. I walk up to her and I am full of grace. This young woman who has a smile that literally fills her face with light, and eyes with sparkle, can only be described as Christ given. Christ loves every soul on this planet, and just because you are homeless, does not mean that he does not love the homeless as well! I hand the young woman a story I had written, and I walk away. I am cautious to not invade her cot size space. This space is all she has and she presently calls it home.  

homeless shelter

Christ was a healer and a friend to everyone he met. He cared about people and loved them as we should love each other. Yet, in today’s society we are so cautious, so careful not to let the troubled parts of other neighborhoods enter into our own safe zones. I find it easy to become as loving and caring as Christ was when he walked this earth. I find it easy to live my life this way, because this young woman could easily be my daughter.

I start to clear the dinner dishes and the table where all the food had been placed. Just about everything we made for dinner that evening is gone. There still are some packets of cupcakes and crackers, but the other food, the real, homemade food is gone. I grab everything I can pile onto a rolling cart and start to make my way back to the kitchen. As I turn the corner the young woman is behind me tapping me on my shoulder. As I turn around to look at her I can see tears in her crystal blue eyes. She looks at me and says, “I’m Jacob”, “I’m like your friend Jacob in your story”. I stand there for a minute taking in the moment, and I remember that I had given her a story about my friend Jacob who was an addict. Jacob in the story is my friend Jacob, who is still on Meth and still goes to the clinic weekly. The woman looks up at me and launches into a full blown hug, which totally melts my heart, and as she’s hugging me she says, “My name is Grace”. And at that moment I encounter Grace at its finest, and I realize that the writing I’ve been doing is able to change people’s lives. In this story Jacob is trying to find God and he’s also trying to fight his addiction to Meth. He’s been living with his addiction for years, yet he can’t seem to break the cycle. He can’t break the cycle until he finds God, and along with God he finds his strength to break free. So if Grace is like Jacob, what is her real story? So as I stand there, I encounter my first realization that goes right to the core of my heart; this woman wants to be free and she wants to be saved. So the relationship between Grace and I takes on a whole new dimension from this day forward, and when Grace and I meet up again everything changes.
Sandie Heckman


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