On the weekend I went to Melbourne with 2 of my children and my husband. It was a really a nice weekend, in-spite of the fact the football was heart breaking. It was Rushed as usual, expensive but enjoyable and it makes me feel like we are the lucky ones.
I had made a comment to my husband that we saw far less homeless people this trip than usual, I put that down to the colder weather or perhaps there is some new agency housing all the homeless, but I hazard a guess it was the first option.
We encountered a sad lady who obviously had mental health problems, ranting through the Mc Donald’s windows at people and had no idea of the spectacle she was making of her self… Sadly people just don’t understand this is not her fault and laughing and pointing does not help her, I growled at my son who was about to make fun of her and prompted him to try and sit in her shoes.
On my walk around the centre of the city I came across a girl who had her bed laid out, (which actually looked very snug) but I imagine on a cold night it would barely suffice, she was dirty and she could not make eye contact with people as they walked by. I stared for a little to long, as something just hit the bottom of my stomach, she had a sign that said “I am homeless please help” and there sat next to the sign a little tray of cheap rings that she was selling.
I kept looking for a while and just saw people aimlessly walking past her and it never seemed to bother them, they just kept their head up and kept walking, every now and then someone would drop her a coin and keep going.
I walked past 2 or 3 times before I had the courage to stop and talk to her and it was a gift to me that I did, when I bent down and spoke to her, I could see past the dirty clothes and dirty face and saw two very beautiful eyes and sitting beside her was a tiny little dog, that she stroked with great affection.
As I walked away from her I could not help but feel over whelmed with emotion and tears just streamed down my face, because all I could think was, “but for the grace of god their go I”… with out thinking of this in a religious sentiment, it really is true, some people are truly just a victim of circumstance and end up in the worst place, some times by bad decision's and sometimes through no fault of their own.
But the true thing that touched my heart about this girl was that she too was someone’s daughter, it could be very easy for that to be one of my children one day, sitting and begging for help, god forbid. It just made me wonder what defining events drew her to take this lonely and dangerous life. She obviously loved her dog and he looked better fed than she did, with his little coat made out of the same knitted blanket that she had.
I don’t believe in feeling sorry for people, I don’t believe in fixing things for others and I don’t believe in making excuses for people who make bad decisions, but looking at this girl made me see, we are all floored and we are all only a couple of bad decisions away from being in the same position as she was. It really made me so thankful for my holiday, so thankful I can afford to give my children experiences and a full life that is not just the bare minimum and that I can stay at home and adore my two youngest boys while they are young. The life of our children is precious and loving them is the best gift you can give them. Everything else is insignificant, because in the end our self worth is what defines the person we can be and what we will expect for ourselves.
My husband works really hard at his job and provides us with a life style that is so easy compared to some people, don’t get me wrong we too could just spend all we have every week and have nothing, but good choices about what we do with our money keeps us warm at night and well fed. It strikes me that even being able to make those choices, what may seem easy to me, is not so easy for others.
As parents we have an obligation to teach our kids how to budget, how to feed themselves healthily, how to not be to proud to ask for help when it is needed and how to feel empathy for those who have less than us and give when you can… Not only to help others but to feel good about yourself.
So again no “whilst I am loving my family” , I am going to look out side of my world and say, do the best you can in life and have the courage to be a friend to someone that may scare you, there could be a hidden blessing for you “whilst you are take time out to share with a stranger”.