This is a little deep for a Monday but it's something that has been weighing heavy on my mind for awhile. Last night I finished reading a book that I had picked up this summer on a whim and it really stirred something inside of me. The book is called Same Kind of Different As Me and was written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It's a book about an unlikely friendship between a wealthy art dealer and a homeless man and the woman who brings them together. The story is amazing in so many ways but what really spoke to me was the honest way Ron Hall tells his side of the story. How he is so honest about his prejudices and stereotypes of homeless people in America. How he thinks he is above them and is doing them a favor by lending his time and bestowing his wisdom and christian ways to them. And in the end, it is Denver Moore, the homeless cotton picker from Louisiana, who teaches him about life. I wish everyone would read this book and see the world through Denver Moores eyes.
I work in a neighborhood that has a large population of homeless people. I have passed them everyday for the past four years on my way to my office. I know their names, I know their stories, and I know they are good people who have had harder lives than most of us will ever know. I see how people pass them like they are trash and it disgusts me. I have no respect for humans who do not treat other living beings with care and compassion, no matter their differences. There is no such thing as someone below you or above you. Only someone different. And Ron Hall and Denver Moore are the shining example of this.
Go read this book! And the next time you pass a homeless person begging for money or a bite to eat, take a look at them as a person rather than an annoyance. Maybe say hello and ask them how they are instead of telling them to get lost. It means so much to the men out on the street that I say hello and bring them leftovers or clean clothes every once in awhile. It's not much, it isn't going to change their lives. But it does let them know they are worth something. And self worth is a lot to someone who doesn't have material belongings.
p.s. - If you live in the Richmond area, I am still collecting clothing and non-perishable food for my guys on Second Street. They really appreciate everything I have collected so far and it puts a great big smile on my face when I see them in clothes I have given them. Warm clothes/blankets for winter would be greatly appreciated!