My friend … Myself … and a Homeless Boy …

Met God in the Corridor …

We never know where we will have our most profound lessons in life. These lessons can be found in the least expected places.

Recently, this happened to me. I think it may have changed my life, I don’t mean to sound mellow dramatic but sometimes a single moment can change your view on things. I was working at the time so after it happened I had to separate myself from it, compartmentalize it and carry on with my day. Actually, I couldn’t talk about it or even think about it because it was so surreal, I just don’t have the language to really capture this intangible event. My friend was there as well and we both felt it, we talked about it and though the encounter was unsettling we decided that it was an incredibly beautiful and deeply profound experience. I would like to share this with you.

I am fortunate to work in the beautiful heritage building in downtown Stratford known as The Festival Square. This is a public building with offices and a few shops. Sadly there has been a rise in the number of homeless in our city as in most cities. On these cold bitter days these folks come in looking for a warm place to rest. Unfortunately, the situation was getting out of hand and the police were there daily, things were looking unkempt. The owners have tried to rectify the situation and it’s better.

The other morning there was a lot of yelling, it sounded like several people because it echos through the three floors of the building. My co-worker and some others went to see what was going on. To my surprise there was one homeless fellow. He seemed to screaming into the phone, I am not sure, but he had a phone plugged in, and he was laying in a seldom used corridor of the building. I approached him and asked him to quiet down. I was trying unsuccessfully to explain that if he was quiet he could stay awhile but if kept yelling someone would call the police. That day an extremely cold and I didn’t want him to have to back outside. Then for some reason while I was talking to him I absentmindedly touched his phone. I don’t know why I did that. This upset him a lot. He started screaming at me not to touch his F*%#ing stuff and it became quite heated. My friend was scared. and we were about to call the cops. The homeless fellow said “no one cares” he was agitated. I was upset and was yelling at him that I care … I care! I kept trying to get him to understand that I do care.

He softened and I saw him … I really saw him … we saw each other … we saw each other’s essence … I looked into his eyes and I saw a young boy, he couldn’t have been more than sixteen years old. At that moment instinctively, I just grabbed him and held him … we stood together shaking and crying. I held his face and told him he mattered. Like a mom would. He said through his tears that “sometimes he just needs a hug but is afraid to ask.” My friend was standing by holding her breath, I knew she felt it too. I am an “empath” by nature but this was something more. Something happened in that hallway that was bigger than us.

This is where my words fail me … I’ve been trying to find the right word … was it God? Was it nothing? It couldn’t have been nothing. Even though nothing changed, the poor boy is still homeless and I went and did someone’s hair. The energy in that corridor was palpable. I am calling it LOVE. Not romantic love not even human love but … pure universal love. I feel privileged to have had such a spiritual experience and I know this will bond my co-worker and I together for having shared such a moment. But what about the boy? Where is he sleeping tonight? Who will feed him and comfort him as a child should be treated?

I am still processing the experience. Am I supposed to do something with this? Is a higher being asking me to help bring awareness to the homeless problem or will the memory dissipate and gradually fade? I am including a letter I wrote to the newspaper in the case that I am meant to spread awareness.

Stratford needs a Homeless Shelter Now

There is no denying the homeless situation in our city is on the rise. It only takes a short walk through the city core to see men with shopping carts and girls huddled under old blankets.

I often hear comments such as “Well it’s their own fault, drugs, booze, poor choices and they should get a job like the rest of us.”

While there may be some truth in these statements it isn’t accurate. These people started out just like you and I but somewhere along the road they ran into problems or sickness which landed them on the street.

Many homeless people suffer from mental illness, also there is an argument that addiction is an illness. It is often the case that people use drugs and alcohol as a means to self medicate and undiagnosed condition.

Most of us have lost a loved one to cancer or heart disease etc.

Imagine for one moment that they had to sleep over a sewer grate or in the bushes. What???

There would be public outrage!

If a dog were left out all night on these cold nights … the Animal shelter {that’s right animals have an overnight shelter} would be getting calls of indignation and the owner would have to go into hiding from the lashing on social media.

So, why … why … why … are we allowing our friends and neighbours who are sick to live on the street?

This can’t be okay! They are human beings, unwell human beings.

At the time of writing this it is very cold, imagine sleeping outside … I can’t actually.

I remember the good samaritan story taught in Sunday school, Jesus tells us to help that person on the road who is in need. It’s not enough to just read the story we must act on it, wasn’t that the point of learning it.

It is easy to say the government should do something and keep walking right on by looking the other way. But aren’t we the government in ways? We elected them, they are paid with our tax money … so they are we and we are they, as are those folks living on the street.

The problem is only going to get worse with rents skyrocketing and our “me first” world that we seem to find ourselves in these days, lack of personal connection and loneliness creating more and more addiction.

There are some agencies trying to offer help which is wonderful but it is not enough. We need an overnight shelter. These people should not be frowned upon they should have medical attention and a safe place to sleep.

If the city would purpose an idea or a place I am sure that the good people of Stratford would help by fundraising and volunteering. I’m definitely in!

In the meantime if you can spare some gloves or a sandwich for that someone and if you can’t, give a friendly nod or a smile. It might be the thing that turns that person’s life around.

I am reminded of a song by Phil Collins … Tonight when I am cozy and warm watching Netflix I will think of his words.

“Oh Lord, is there nothing more anyone can do? Oh Lord, there must be something you can say … You can tell by the lines on her face … You can see that she’s been there Probably been moved on from every place ’cause she didn’t fit there. Oh Think Twice it’s just another day for you and me in paradise.”

To our council I understand that this problem is multifaceted and difficult but I beg of you to remember these suffering people, they are someone’s kids, brothers and sisters. Please help.

Love … It is all that really matters

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People are my greatest source of inspiration,. I love to sit in a cafe and observe to world as it passes by. Everyone is interesting in their own way.

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April Taylor

April Taylor

People are my greatest source of inspiration,. I love to sit in a cafe and observe to world as it passes by. Everyone is interesting in their own way.

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