Tonight I did my usual Sunday evening routine of feeding the homeless at a popular beach near our place. I have been doing for a few months now and am getting to know some of the people quite well. It is a good reminder when talking with these people to realise that life is capable of giving us all some hard knocks.
As I have listened to the stories of these people I have realised that wherever we live and whatever we look like life can deal some very unfair hands. Who am I to say that I would react any differently if I were placed in the same situation.
What I have also sought to do is to listen to their stories and value these people’s lives. I have learned the value of community and that we all have a need to connect to each other’s story. For example tonight one of the guys told me that he was battling bone cancer. For a year and a half the doctors had treated him as less than human and failed to diagnose and treat his cancer properly in its early stages. Because of this the cancer has spread and has become far more serious. In the midst of this the homeless community has cared for him and shown a genuine concern. What a shame his life wasn’t valued higher at an earlier stage of his cancer.
I have learned that life is about caring and giving. If my faith is just about myself and my knowledge of God then it is sadly lacking. In this situation where I thought that it was up to me to give I have realised that I have also received. But this has not been the case in this work, I have also received greatly through being able to give.