>After six shadow at 8:30 in the morning. Fly away chocolate curls. Scrunched and wrinkled shirt appearing as if just removed from the bottom of a week old laundry basket. Tucked in neatly; disguised as a crisp, cleaned and freshly starched shirt. Familiar scent of old garbage that has lost its smell. Un-stylishly loose fitting navy khaki slacks made to fit. Can’t see the foot gear. Simultaneous firm and weak handshake. A wince- a grimace- pain. Ouch! That’s from punching a wall last night. Good Morning! A warm smile. Later… rain…. Tears
This was the start of my workday today. Sad, but true. A full-fledged adult. College educated by way of Penn State. Homeless. Crime victim. Broken spirit.
This man is somebody’s son. Just five years ago, the assumption could have been made that Rob (not his real name) suffered from alcohol or substance abuse or mental illness. Today- tough economic times have to be considered as a part of the equation. Job loss, lack of healthcare benefits, a breakdown of the family unit, and other issues contribute to this sad state of affairs.
As I listened to Rob describe his gloomy predicament and watched this grown man break down in front of me, a total stranger, my heart ached for him. I don’t know his life story. I only know what he shared with me. Times are tough! Who do you trust? Whose story is real? Is it a scam? Is there more to his story? Where’s his family? Who knows for certain? A colleague and a few others reached out to help Rob. I can only hope and pray that he’s on a better path to stability in the near future. I should see him again in the near future.
Those of us who are parents want the best for our children. We make sacrifices for them and take steps to carefully sculpt their future. We plan for our children to succeed, not to fail. I think it’s safe to say that Rob’s current situation wasn’t part of his parent’s vision for him.
What I know for sure is that none of us are 100% certain as to where we will be tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year.
The spirit of the holiday season is in full effect. In the mist of preparing for the holiday festivities with family and friends let’s remember to do something special for others who are less fortunate. Whether you adopt a family, donate food or clothes, volunteer your time, or some other activity, your generosity will make someone’s day a little brighter.