Last night my wife and I went to a presentation/story telling session on homelessness in our community. There were 4 different people, that either were, or currently are, experiencing homelessness. It was an eye-opening look at homelessness from the perspective of people who have (or are) living it.
The first person to speak said that the 2 primary causes of homelessness are a lack of empathy (the feeling that no one cares or understands) and/or broken relationship. The other speakers, knowing it or not, confirmed this statement through their stories about how they became homeless.
If you would have asked me before the presentation, what I thought the 2 main causes of homelessness was, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked a lack of empathy or broken relationships. I probably would have said something like drugs, or mental illness. From what I heard last night, it seems like those things came a little further downstream.
Suppose lack of empathy and broken relationships are, indeed, the primary causes of homelessness. If so, doesn’t it seem like human connection and compassion would go a long way in preventing homelessness? It seems like the most important place for these antidotes is in our homes, and with our families and friends. It also seems like there are no boundaries with regard to where human connection and compassion would not be beneficial.
The presentation not only changed my perspective on homelessness, it also gave me much to think about regarding what I do with what I heard. I’m thankful that others are willing to share their story, in order to provide a perspective, I might not have.
Here’s a simple thought that can yield significant results: when you’re stuck, ask for help.
Whether it’s a problem you’ve got that you’re trying to solve, some expertise you need that you don’t have, or wisdom you lack that you need, seek help from those who have the knowledge you do not.
Why should we spin our wheels trying to solve something when we don’t have to?
I had a lot going on this week. Between work, family stuff, and other events I had scheduled, I could see that I wasn’t going to have enough time to do everything without being frazzled at the end. And even if I didn’t get everything done, it wouldn’t be done well, because I left myself with no margin.
So, Tuesday evening, I made arrangements to cancel my participation I an event that I had for the upcoming Sunday. Doing so freed up time during the week I would have spent in preparation, in addition to lightening the load on Sunday. I’m grateful for the time I was able to free up to spend on the other things I need to do this week. I’m also grateful for the reduced stress and for not having the sense of being hurried through the week, that I would have experienced, had I not created some margin.
Is there anywhere in your day, your week, or your life where you could use some margin? If so, begin looking for ways to create that margin. Once identified, take the steps to make it happen.
I was really impressed with something our pastor did in church last Sunday. As I was reflecting on it later in the day I thought, “I should send him a hand-written note and tell him how much I appreciated what he did.” That’s a good intention. However, as the week got busier, I could feel my intention slipping to the back burner toward inaction. If I didn’t do something, the likelihood that this intention would ever bloom into realized action, was not looking good.
So last night I just decided (and actually followed through) that I was not going to do anything else until I got the note written and put it in an addressed envelope with a stamp. As I type this, the note is in the care of the USPS and on its way to the recipient.
When we have a good intention, we should honor that intention by taking the necessary action to bring it to life. Not only will be feel good about following through on our good intention, we’ll hopefully be blessing someone else as well.