Thanksgiving Day, 2015. A day that we give thanks for all our blessings, if you believe in such religious paradigms; certainly a day of warmth, togetherness and, yes, gratitude practiced by all in this great country.
There are, however, those broken souls that are lost, bereaved and empty where this day only adds a significant amount of misery. Whether they are disenfranchised from their families, incarcerated, or seeking shelter from their troubled lives from any available dumpster. These individuals don’t live but sub-exist on the undercarriage of our good fortune.
Today, Thanksgiving, 2015, is going to be their day. I salute you for getting through the nightmare and onto another dry sidewalk so the sun of good fortune can warm your face. It will. We all have our day in court, as they say, and your day is just around the corner.
A family will be reunited, and it will be yours. An order of release will be issued from a court and you will be free from custody. A safe, clean furnished living domicile will be provided and you will move in. This will all occur. The only requirement is for you to get to the next dry sidewalk, where the rain will not drench and the wind will not chill. You will make it.
I know this because I, too, was on that wet road littered with dishonest promises, grand gestures of a better tomorrow while seeking another person to use and abuse. I know because I felt the drench of anguish; the sharp attack of disappointment, and the lash of prison. I know because I am you and you are me.
I no longer embrace misery, make the occasional grand gesture of dishonesty or find another victim to dissolve. A community lifted me up and placed me on that portion of dry sidewalk that allowed me to find the “sunny side of the street.” For that I am eternally grateful. And it’s there for you, too.
This is a giving of thanks to you not for what you take from us but what you give to us. You make us a better nation. It is imprinted in our DNA to help those that cannot help themselves. For those weakest among us must be provided the strength from the rest of us to move forward. A timely tradition that still stumbles forward.
Yes, the numbers are growing, the streets are more crowded than ever before with the tents, tarps and strange mutterings from inside the makeshift cottages. It’s enough to turn our heads away in despair, to turn our gaze skyward, hoping against hope that divine intervention will make good what we cannot; to prevent us from feeling the whiplash of failure.
We must continue and we will continue until every man, woman and child is off the streets and into a life to be cherished, not just survived. A pipe dream, perhaps, but it will be a reality. Our collective might cannot be overlooked or overshadowed by the enormity of the problem. We are all of us.
Today, Thanksgiving, 2015, my heroes are those forgotten souls striving for a their place in the sun. It’s right around the next bend. Absolutely. Happy Thanksgiving.