This morning was cold, very cold. As I was leaving work around 8 am, I was tired and dreading the cold. After a certain point or degree, the cold is just same- very cold and frigid. It was below zero. Stepping outside, immediately the cold air blew against my skin. I was bundled, you’re almost always prepared for days like this. This is Illinois!
But my car was just a few steps away, there’s absolutely nothing I have to complain about. This new job couldn’t make anything more convenient because there’s even an attached parking garage!! What! I am so truly grateful.
As I sat there waiting for my car to heat up, the sun was barely trying to sneak from behind the clouds. It was good to see the sun, even if it was a brief amount time on my drive home. Just thinking, I have everything at my fingertips, all the tools and resources to my day smoother. Not everyone is lucky. I remember in nursing school, having to do clinicals at the homeless shelter. It was one the coldest winters that year. I didn’t want to go, the drive seemed so long. But I recall one morning, similar to this when everyone’s furnace broke down and their pipes froze. I could see the homeless shelter just a little ways forward, and just at my last turn sat a man on the ground hunched over. In my mind at 21, I wondered why he would sit there on a below zero day when he was just yards from the shelter.
After parking my car and walking inside, I gathered my thoughts for the day and tried to prioritize which homeless person needed my attention first. The placed was packed with men, women, and children of all ages. There were wonderful volunteers serving these people breakfast. I was watching everyone, each one grateful to be there-there we’re smiles on their faces but in their eyes pain of this season of life. As the conversations began, I learned that the hunched over man outside was dead. Frozen to death, they exclaimed.
I was angry at first. Angry because I couldn’t help, angry that he was so close, angry that this stuff happens. The shelter was just a few feet away, why didn’t he just take the few extra steps. But I do not how far he walked to come to this town or if he had a decent meal to even afford calories to burn. We don’t know their stories but we know there’s more like him out there. Driving through the city of Chicago through the streets of Mumbai, there’s homeless people/families everywhere across the globe. Today, on this very cold morning I am able to slip under warm covers and rest my head on pillow.
Today, especially today, I ask that you consider those that don’t even have the basic necessities.
If you’re in the midst of a cold winter right now, stay warm. Here’s a link to some helpful tips…