I just watched a very interesting flick called “Craigslist Joe”. It was about a young man who traveled cross country for 30 days with nothing but a laptop, a cell phone and the clothes on his back. He found rides, places to stay, food, and ways to contribute to society along the way just by ads on craigslist.
He wasn’t just a taker. He contributed. He left a mark wherever he went. He helped. He was willing to clean, teach, console, party, and life live where ever and however it was unfolding at the moment.
I couldn’t help but think of our homeless population. I have cared for many of them during my years working in hospitals. I always have a heart for those that face struggles in life. I feel a kinship I suppose. Anyhow, this movie made me think of those that I’ve tried to help. More than once I’ve worked at finding a place to heal, to find hope, to open new doors for a fellow man that is struggling with life on the streets and addiction . My experience is that unfortunately they don’t want to open any doors. They don’t want anything different. They don’t want to contribute. The homeless (and mostly addicted) population that I have met and tried to help want what is given as long as it is given under their code of conduct. NO RULES ATTACHED. The don’t want to have to respect your house by keeping things clean. They don’t want to have to contribute anything unless they feel moved to in the moment….meaning no scheduled work or chores. They don’t want to honor the fact that you have to get up in the morning and so noise needs to be down at a respectful hour. They would rather face the elements and do what they want whenever they want the way they want. That was my experience. It kind of soured me to wanting to help those that are on street corners.
Yet, in this short memoire, this young man showed that “homeless”doesn’t have to mean helpless. It isn’t just a “take what you can get” mentality. He showed that you can find kindness in people if that is what you are willing to share with them. He found that he can give of his talents and resources as well as be the one in need of housing and a meal. And that the barter system does work. A person doesn’t have to sleep on the streets night after night if they are willing to be real and share and care.
I love when I am able to see things from a different perspective than that with which I was raised and taught. It’s not a JOB or a degree or contacts that make or break you. It’s what you have to offer the universe and if you are able to trust the powers that be (for me that would be God) to direct your path and provide for your needs.
I need to be inspired now and then. I need to feel good about the world I live in. I”m thankful that I mostly see the good in people. I grateful I still have much to offer the world, even if it isn’t in the way I was taught was the only way to make it. I can’t work a JOB right now…but I can still make a difference. With a smile, with a phone call, with a hug and a smile. I can bake a cake for a birthday or offer someone a meal. I can share a story or buy someone a cup of coffee. Some how…life works if you are willing to share. That means giving as well as receiving.