Homeless people make me uncomfortable. Sometimes I want them to just go away because then I won't have to see them.
But then again, I don't think I really ever see them even when they are standing right in front of me.
The truth is I (like many of you, I am taking liberty to assume) know very little about homelessness. Just enough to know that it becomes an issue of us and them about as quick as I can blink an eye because we are different, you and I and don't you forget it.
I have been to a shelter or two, read articles about various steps cities try to take to eliminate "the problem" and am guilty of passing many unfounded judgments on people I know nothing about.
Because that's the thing--there are people behind this issue/problem/challenge/opportunity and yet somehow it can be so hard to see those faces and instead see Addiction, Mental Illness, Government Handout or whatever other label I so rashly apply.
And sometimes with anger. Or at the very least, annoyance. Because what am I supposed to do when this guy is sitting outside my window at the traffic light and I have nowhere to go?!
I do realize that there are indeed very serious issues/problems/challenges/opportunities that our fellow brothers and sisters face and those are not to be ignored.
But neither should they replace the humanity that lies beneath.
Today, I ran across this article that has really given me a lot to chew on. Basically, it introduces this project, which consists of a man who travels the country to give those without homes a voice. A face. A story.
And I would really encourage you to check it out. Or at least meet Michael through his video posted below.
Mark Horvath basically searches the streets for those that may be homeless, offers them fresh socks and then asks if he can interview them. At the end of his short interview, he asks them to share give their three wishes.
It's simple. It's hardly earth-shattering. And yet, it struck a chord in me. Not only to challenge my own thoughts and opinions and judgments of people I do not know but who have just as much worth as me in the Eyes of the One who is Judge...but also to challenge myself to dig in to the world around me.
Whose stories am I overlooking because of my own blindness?