I get out of work and the radio is screaming the urgent message of “Tornado Warning”. I’m still driving, feeling nervous, and the Tornado Siren goes off! I’m nail biting, gripping steering wheel scared, as I drive through neighborhoods anxiously trying to get home. I reach my house, pull in the driveway and quickly escape to the solitude and safety of my home. Door locked behind me, I enter the blissful feeling of safety and warmth; I am home.
Living in the Midwest has its ups and downs when it comes to spring weather. Having lived on the east coast almost my entire life, this evening showed the true bi-polar weather patterns of Missouri at their finest. In less than two hours, I went through two tornado warnings, two hail storms, a rainbow and the most beautiful cloud formation I’ve ever seen. God was making a spectacular array of weather patterns for me to witness, and I felt safe inside my home. On the other side of my neighborhood, behind suburbia, lies a wooded area where homeless people live in tents waiting out these storms.
I prayed for the safety of the homeless as the second tornado siren went off, and asked that the tents stay planted safely on the ground. I prayed that no one would be hurt. As the storms came whisking through, the hail started to plummet to the ground like firecracker snaps on the 4th of July.
I watched my car take a beating from the hail, and in the end it really didn’t matter if it was damaged or not. I was blessed to have a car, a home and I felt almost guilty of being there. How could this society we live in today allow homelessness to still prevail? How have we become a generation of families that loose their jobs and end up in the woods on the other side of my neighborhood? Somehow my safety at this particular moment did not seem as important as other times in my life.
I stepped outside and as the rains were streaming down, the sun streamed brightly through the clouds. The trees dripped water, and glistened like golden dipped branches blowing softly in the wind. I knew at that particular moment that God’s love was shining through.
When the bow [rainbow] is in the clouds and I look upon it, I will [earnestly] remember the everlasting covenant or pledge between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said to Noah, This [rainbow] is the token or sign of the covenant or solemn pledge which I have established between Me and all flesh upon the earth. Genesis 9:16-17 AMP
As I glanced around the corner of my home I saw it, a beautiful rainbow. It was magnificent as it hung in the sky, reminding me of God’s promise. I knew that this storm would soon pass. I knew the homeless people in the woods would be okay. They would have survived another storm of life, and move on to their next day.
I was finally able to leave my home to drive to the grocery store. I had spoken to one of the homeless families and they were in dire need of food. I had a grocery list of high protein items that would help sustain them until their food stamps for the next month arrived. The entire time I was shopping, I was thinking of this family and how they have impacted my life. In fact, I couldn’t stop thinking about the homeless people near my neighborhood at all. I constantly thought about them and how I needed to step up and do something.
I’m going to Outreach this Sunday through my church. I am getting involved by packing small lunch sacks, hygiene packets and simple words of conversation to help the people from the streets have a day where they can lose sight of the fact that they are homeless. Where simple conversation and moments of laughter help them to endure the frustration and loneliness homelessness can bring.
When you lose your home, you are no longer a part of an intricate neighborhood where cars drive to work, buses pick up children for school and flowers are planted in the Spring. You simply exist and endure survival mode until finally the world breaks open, and a job gives you your identity and life back. I watch these homeless families endure weeks of job hunting and trying to survive on small amounts of food and clothing donated by local charities. Humbling oneself takes on a whole new meaning when your are homeless. You have to say yes to the simple things in life because that is simply all you have.
This one particular couple that I buy food for has a dream all their own. They are striving to move forward with a dream of a job and home. They are not relying on society, they are relying on themselves. They live in a tent for now, yet they are fighting to get back up the ladder of life. They are striving to better themselves, and their biggest dream in life is to one day give back to the other homeless that may one day reside on the other side of suburbia where they hope to once again live.
When I arrived home, I knew God was showing me that the world may be harsh and unkind, but if I helped other people and showed them God’s love, everything would eventually be okay. I knew I was on the right path of helping others as the most beautiful cloud erupted in the sky. God was showing me his promise, his promise he made to all of us so long ago.