09 September 2005


I went to a three hour training today on "Infant and Toddler Mental Health." You know you've worked in behavioral health too long when you start liking those seminars and actually bring extra handouts home for your family. The training really was good and it made me think that I would be a fantastic child psychologist. It also made me think that I need a child psychologist. And then I started thinking about how I was gonna do my hair after I got home. And then I thought about what I was going to eat after I got home. And then the speaker started talking about ADD and I felt guilty and made myself listen. And then she started talking about children in crisis and I listened harder.

But what I really want to say is this:

"Sometime ago a woman came with her child to me and said: 'Mother, I went to two or three places to beg for food, for we have not eaten for three days but they told me that I was young and should work and earn my living. No one gave me anything.' I went to get some food for her and by the time I returned, the baby in her arms had died of hunger." ~Mother Teresa

As the whole country is doing their best to pull together and be supportive and give what they can, I can't help but think about the need that has always been here that so many Americans have chosen to ignore for so long. This thought process was inspired by my shelter babies. The kids I deal with every day. Children in crisis. As I watch the news and feel the urge to run South and help, I'm stopped by my shelter babies. They are tangible. So are their needs. I’m stopped by the four year old whose wide shell-shocked eyes have finally come into focus and who is finally speaking. And the 3 year old I comforted on Wednesday night while she cried because she misses her daddy and doesn't understand why she hasn't seen him for so long (2 weeks). And the two babies whose first steps were taken in the shelter. And the memory of the day I answered crisis calls with one of those babies on my hip.

The victims of the disaster in the Gulf need our support, our time, our money, our blood. So do the homeless and those in crisis in our local communities. I saw a family on "Dateline NBC" that were telling their Katrina story and told how they felt embarrassed and debased that they had to designate themselves as "homeless" when they went to enroll their children in school. America wept with them. Felt their pain. I truly am sorry for them. I can't imagine having to claim homelessness. I just wish that America was so wholly supportive of the homeless that they've always had in their communities. Instead of treating them like a burden on society, second class citizens. These people too, are victims of circumstance.
Homelessness is homelessness.
Crisis is crisis.
Help is help.
Love is love.

Kanye West made an excellent point on the Ellen DeGeneres Show today. He used an analogy and I’ll paraphrase. He talked about how when he was a kid and had to sweep the floor, he would sweep all the dust under the sink instead of putting it out. Then, whenever he spilled something at that sink, all the dust would fly up in his face. He said America has been ignoring the thousands of people in the Gulf that have been living below the poverty level for generations. They’re the dust under our sink. When the hurricane rain came down, their needs flew up in our faces.

I find it interesting that I'm really just writing about this subject now. The homeless have always been my passion. It's sad that it's taken a crisis to get me to really open my mouth the way I needed to. I don't have much, but I intend to give what I can when I can. I'm using my small life, my small voice, and this small website to encourage others to give. My hope is that by speaking the truth, somebody somewhere will make a connection and realize their power to change the world.

I hope that Americans will make giving and serving to this magnitude a habit. That we'll make regular donations of our time, energy, money, blood, and love. We should expect nothing less of each other.

Mosiah 4: 16-19

“16: And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

17: Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just-

18: But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

19: For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon that same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?”


David said...

Wow I love the examples that you use throughout your post! It seems that you have done quite a bit of research on the situatoin in New Orleans.

Scout said...

I am sheltered by distance. I only see constructed images of death and distruction via the media. I have no understanding of the tragic reality of the lives that you describe. I feel ignorant.
But I'm learning. I'm learning to look. I'm learning to feel. One day I will learn to help people, like you do....

Kirsten said...

sometimes it just hurts too much.

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