Friday, October 16, 2009

How does one take care of the homeless?

How does one describe the pain of injustice to another when they have not seen the faces or shared in the stories of the ones who daily live under the night sky and rely on kind strangers to provide their daily food?

During my short stay here in Santo Domingo I have had the privilege of meeting a homeless woman named Esperanza (which means hope). She is the sweetest lady I have met and so sincere. She is an old woman who lost her home in the hurricane that passed through Santo Domingo 10 years ago. Every morning she crawls out from under a cardboard box and takes her post at a little nook on the main drag in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. Daily she is passed by hundreds of strangers consisting of tourists and locals alike. Not many people take an interest in her, as she sits in old clothing with a washed out leopard print scarf wrapped around her head.
Should one sit down and share a conversation with her, they would learn that she has the joy of the Lord in her heart and that she loves to laugh. She is expressive and shares her whole self with you. She will protect you from those whom she knows to be bad, and tell you that you are her daughter/son. She loves to hold the hands of those that she loves.

I have had the honor of holding her hand and hearing her story. I have heard her call me her daughter and watch her threaten bad men off with her stick. I have seen her eyes light up when we bring her boxes of food that she can eat and share with her friends on the street. I have heard her pray a blessing over us. I have watched her brighten with uncertainty as she clings to the promise that we will return to visit her the next day. I have watched her head and eyes turn from side to side as she is constantly aware of what is going on around her. I have watched her eyes sink and heart melt when she learned that me and the others girls did not live locally and would be leaving shortly. I have heard her say, “Please leave me something to remember you by, I never want to forget the names of the people who the Lord brought to provide for me”.

Now I ask you, what is my role… what is your role? It is written in the Bible that we are to take care of the widow, the orphan, and the homeless. What do I do? What does God ask of me? How do I continue to help Esperanza? Or do I? Will God lead another to help her? Will he lead me to someone in my town that is homeless? If he does, how do I help them?

My heart has been aching been for Esperanza since I met her. I feel uneasy… materialistic… selfish… unworthy… wanting… ungrateful… deserving (when in reality I don’t deserve anything)… rich… sad…

Lord teach me your ways, guide me in your plans, let me not get distracted from what you want of me.

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