What can you do to help the homeless? The possibilities are only limited by your own imagination. There are many articles that cover new and innovative ways to help end homelessness. I would encourage readers to feel free to share some of their own ideas in the comments section. In this particular post, however, I am not answering this question. In this post, I want to share what the homeless have done for me.
You may be wondering what I meant by that last statement. Let me explain something that many people may not realize, when you help others in need, you are inadvertently helping yourself as well. That’s not to say that you help others with the intention of receiving anything in return. Indeed, this post is not about selfishness, but rather about the joys of selflessness. I have found that when you are focused on the well-being of others, you tend to grow as a person.
When I started talking with people and hearing their stories, people from all different walks of life, I immediately began to see the fallacies of the stigma attached to homelessness. I met a gentlemen in Portland once; he was a sports photographer before the recession hit in 2008. During the recession he lost work, but sadly, that was not all that he lost. The only family he had was his wife, that is, until he lost his job, and that is when she left him. Without a job, and with no family for emotional or financial support, he wound up on the streets. Many hard-working people have lost everything and are now homeless; the stigma that all homeless individuals are simply lazy, is simply untrue. The stigma that homeless people have chosen this life either because they like it or as a result of their life choices, is also untrue in the majority of cases. Many people have made pretty good life choices overall, worked hard, but still ended up homeless due to any number of circumstances. Homelessness can, and it does, happen to anyone at anytime.
I have learned to look at matters beyond the surface. Having been close to homelessness myself, I empathize with those who are or have been homeless in their lifetime. I have been corrected & humbled. I have learned that the joy of serving others supersedes the joy of being served. And with that, I will end this post by encouraging you readers, please do what you can for those in need, simply because it is the right thing to do and for no other reason. If you do this, and you find that you agree that the joy of serving others supersedes the joy of being served; please share your experience with others.