Saturday, 16 November 2013

When You Look Beyond.

There have been profound times in my life. Times that defined me.  Made me open my eyes to other realities.  There was a time that truly challenged me. The days when I was a support worker in a shelter for the homeless, the "rough sleepers", in the city of Stoke-on-Trent. 

To see those not fortunate on the street, despairing, dishevelled, brought out the best and the worst in passers-by.  Most too busy, to find that moment to see beyond the rags and to discover the reasons as to how it got that way.  Apathy, the not my problem, the pretend you don't see the homeless person, all too prevalent in a society that doesn't want to know. 

To be with them, to listen, to learn, opened my eyes to the stories that told of a world that many had never envisioned.  I understood from their heart-breaking stories, that one moment you can have everything, the next, wondering if you'll survive the night.  

Those times working at the shelter provided me with lessons I cherish.  It's all too easy to make preconceived notions and assume the convenient stereotypes. Yet, when you look beyond, see the soul beyond the eyes, the truth can truly humble.

Imagine being cold, hungry, scared.  Your home, a cardboard box under a bridge.  Your home, a darkened shop doorway.  Imagine those who look at you in disgust without even knowing the torment that brought you to this hell on earth.  
In these times when the vulnerable, the poorest in society, are paying for the mistakes of the incompetent fortunate, you get moments like this.  

137 comments:

  1. Sad state of affairs indeed. And they do get looks of disgust, nice good things can happen every once in a while

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  2. Hi Pat,

    And those rays of hope, display humanity at its finest. A lot of emotions in the video. Have a peaceful weekend.

    Gary

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  3. Such a beautiful post! Tears in my eyes. People are all humans. Sad that no one can see that. The money...yes. Extremely needed. But hugs? How many people get those? Thank-you for sharing this and God Bless you.
    BTW - Penny looks gorgeous!

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    1. Hi middle child,

      I had tears in my eyes when I wrote this. And the video the very essence of what good can be done in a world that can seem so hopeless. A virtual hug to you, dear friend.

      Penny is nodding her in agreement with you.

      A peaceful weekend to you.

      Gary

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  4. Most didn't choose a path that would lead them there. To walk a moment in their shoes must reveal so much.

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    1. Hi Alex,

      You, my friend, has summed it up in the most thoughtful of ways. To walk a mile in another man's shoes....

      Wishing you and your good lady, a fulfilling, rejuvenating holiday.

      In peace and hope,

      Gary

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  5. The rest of your life can change in an instant.
    I worked with a boy who could barely speak and who had enormous difficulty placing little wooden pegs in the tops of baby food jars.
    This summer, he was active teenager on a baseball team and who had a brand new drivers license.
    That was before a truck's side view mirror flew off and crushed his skull.
    In the flash of an instant....

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    1. Hi Al,

      Your harrowing story of how a life can be changed, be shattered, in just a flash, is deeply moving. It just shows how life can be thrown upside down and the impact it has that ripples out. A dear friend of mine has a similar tale to tell.

      Thank you for your powerful words. Something to really think about.

      Gary

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  6. Touching post Gary. Sometimes life deals people bad blows, It's up to us to treat people like people, not throw aways. Thanks for the post.

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    1. Hi David,

      I appreciate your words, good sir. Life can be a challenge. What lies around the next corner can change our life forever. I have seen those in the worst of circumstances still have something that couldn't be taken away. Their dignity. Thank you for your comment, my friend.

      Gary

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  7. We live in a temperate climate, but even so, the homeless suffer unspeakable hardships. Thank you for lifting this to public view.

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    1. Hi Susan,

      Even in the most temperature of climates, it's sad to note how cold portions of humanity can be to the homeless. I know your heart is touched and the world needs more decent folks like you.

      Wishing you a peaceful Sunday.

      Gary

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  8. I was just thinking about how it would suck to be homeless today, as it is rainy, cold and windy. It's true that you never know what roads lead a person to the street. I used to hang out with a lot of homeless folks and they were awesome. There is a real sense of community on the street, but also a dark side. It's a hard life. I'm grateful to be sitting in a heated home next to my cat right now, that's all I can say!

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    1. Hi Shell Flower,

      And you know of the homeless folks and their sense of spirit to make the most of what life had thrown at them. In the human spirit, united in the face of adversity. Such a range of emotions on the streets. The dark side and the fear. The magic of an undaunted community. I remembering feeding the homeless on Christmas Day. After the meal, some would be finding shelter wherever they could. I went home to a nice, warm home. You are grateful for all you have. We are blessed, my friend.

      A happy Sunday to you and your beloved cat.

      Gary

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  9. That's so true. It's very sad. :(

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    1. Hi JoJo,

      And beyond the sad truth, we share a hope for a better, more caring world.

      Wishing you a lovely Sunday.

      Gary

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  10. Your message is so true and so important. Thank you, Klahanie.

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    1. Hi M.J.,

      Thank you and an important message that needs to be shared.

      A peaceful, hopeful Sunday to you, my dear friend.

      Gary

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  11. My heart goes out to people that are homeless. So many times they are judged and treated differently- when really, it could happen to any of us. I used to volunteer at a soup kitchen and seeing the young children there just broke my heart. What a hard life for anyone, but especially for kids.
    ~Jess

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    1. Hi Jess,

      You are one who speaks of passion for the homeless, of the adults, of the children. You knew that it can happen to any of us. This humbles and makes us realise just how vital it is to be there for our brothers our sisters, our children in need. Thank you for being you.

      May your Sunday be one of peace.

      Gary

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  12. Winter approaches here..the sidewalks and streets are cold and unforgiving....I often think of how fortunate we are to go to bed in warm clean sheets with full stomaches and doors to lock against the night and wonder if all the street people have found shelter. We have whole families struggling for existence ... how do you explain to your children that you don't have a home for them? What good is a food bank if you don't have a kitchen to cook in? We are so blessed it is criminal not to do something to help.

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    1. Hi Delores,

      With impending winter, the horrors of the homeless, become even more desperate. I too often wonder how my friends on the streets are coping. We share a common sense of gratitude that we have a warm bed and warm food to take away the winter chills.

      So many families are now struggling. More than in many a year past. How do you tell your children. It breaks the heart and a food bank is now becoming a stop gap for those who still have kitchens. Many more are becoming homeless thanks to the evil regime that rules Britain.

      Wishing you a warm, peaceful evening as our thoughts are with our homeless friends.

      Gary

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  13. The Mayor of one of the lower cities in Florida is running on the platform that he "took are of the homeless population". That got my attention, because he "took care of them" by running them out of town. How's that for compassion, shoving them away when all they needed was assistance, not avoidance.

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    1. Hi Dana,

      That Mayor is a ruthless asshole. Remove the "problem" and it doesn't exist. That Mayor should try living on the streets and wondering if he'll live through the night. Compassion, not avoidance is the key. Well said, dear lady.

      Gary

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  14. There are too many without hope, there are so many with the power to give it, yet they walk away, turn a blind eye. It is the poorest of the poor who see, who know, who cry for those beyond tears. This was a sad but lovely example of giving hope and reminding us how little it really takes to make a difference. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Yolanda,

      Those with little hope are being persecuted by those who live in a world of privilege. The most vulnerable can be looked upon with disdain. Those in power who are more interested in more power, should open their eyes to the truth they helped create. Shame on them. Thank you for your poignant comment, dear lady.

      Gary

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  15. Great post, my friend. My thoughts, exactly.

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  16. Sorry for leaving such a dry comment but it was as though you'd read my mind and poured it out on this post.

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    1. Hi Julia,

      I knew of the words you spoke that filled your heart. You know of compassion for our fellow humans. It resonates in your comment.

      Be well and thank you for being part of that world that cares.

      Gary

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  17. Sadly I couldn't see the 'moment like these'. But welcome each and every time someone acknowledges the humanity of the homeless, the rough sleepers, those with mental illness.
    We are all only a tissue thin thread away from desparation.

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    1. Gary, thank you so much for sending me the link. I am typing with tears rolling down my face. I love that they not only gave him money, but stopped to talk to him and touch him. Restoration of dignity. This is truly beautiful.

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    2. Hi Sue,

      And your compassion compounded through seeing that video. I was so thankful that the link I sent you worked. The dignity, the respect, the caring for that man, Stephen, a man in need, touches the heart of anybody who truly cares.

      We know that the homeless could be us. We must continue to respect and be there for our fellow man. I know this is what beats within your tender, loving heart.

      Thank you, Sue.

      Gary

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  18. Hi Gary .. brilliant post, especially as you've experienced working with the homeless, and then the video - we really need a group of these in each and every town ... people who are prepared to help and give hope to the homeless.

    It's not something I could do - but I certainly can help the lonely and also provide food via the food bank here ... we just should be more compassionate at all times ...

    Love the video - thanks for sharing with us .. let's hope all of us go out of our way to help others in some way at all times of the year - though the cold times are the worst.

    With thoughts to all - Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary,

      Thank you. We need people everywhere to be caring for all of humanity in desperate need. We need to get them homes or some form of safe shelter.

      You are doing what you can and I know that your acts of kindness are warmly received. It's a measure of the tough times when so many are now needing food banks.

      That video does touch the heart. We must be here for each other.

      Thank you and I hope you had a lovely weekend.

      Gary

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  19. So many people are willing to open their hearts and their purses to help those in time of need. The recent disaster in the Philipines is a good example. You must have given the homeless real hope when you worked among them. The video is dellightful and all it takes is one person to lead the way.

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    1. Hi Manzanita,

      This is such a warm aspect of humanity. We have witnessed the horror in the Philippines. It not only displays that we will be their for our friends in the Philippines, it also shows just how quickly our lives can be devastated. The spirit of those in the Philippines is an example to us all. I did my best to give hope for the homeless. I'm proud of those I managed to get into accommodation. That video touches on so many emotive levels.

      Hope you are having a peaceful Sunday.

      Gary

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  20. Life is complex it would be good if we were all equal, but humans are not always nice. And things can change in an instant for reasons beyond anyone's control such as in the Philippines. I guess all we can do is treat folk as we would want to be treated by others.

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    1. Hi Rob,

      All different, all equal in a caring diversity. A lot of humanity is not nice. We have seen the situation in the Philippines. It shows just how life can change in just a moment of horror. Do unto others is something we should all embrace.

      Thank you, Rob.

      Gary

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  21. This literally brought tears to me eyes. You have a huge heart. Bless you for taking the to see beyond the stereotypes. I've never understood how people can look at a homeless person and judge them when they have no idea what brought them here. Hopefully more people see the soul beyond the eyes...

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    1. Hi Keith,

      Writing this posting, watching that video, brought tears to my eyes. People have to see beyond the stigma, the stereotypes. Indeed, how people can pass judgement when they have no idea how that person ended up like that, is a disgrace. We shall see the soul beyond the eyes.

      Thank you, Keith.

      Gary

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  22. Why is it that so many can't even comprehend some of this? The judgment they pass, the blame they lay - so wrong. Some day maybe we will be in a civilized society, but for now our countries are barbaric and the people are neanderthals.
    My heart hurts for those not fortunate...

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    1. Hi Kim,

      It seems a lot of people don't want to comprehend some of this. It's easier to blame those in such situations that they are just pathetic, weak individuals. We live in a barbaric, evil, greedy world. Many of those who have it made, just don't care. They would care if it happened to them. It would open their eyes to an awful reality so many are living with.

      Thank you, dear lady. You are one of the caring ones.

      Gary

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  23. When you think about your own life, it's easy to see how anyone could end up with nothing with just a couple of twists. A very thought-provoking post.

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    1. Hi Annalisa,

      Just like that, one twist of fate and you can find yourself in a life of despair. I know that's why we are grateful for what we have. Thank you, Annalisa.

      Gary

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  24. You really don't know what's going on with the homeless unless you take the time to listen. I use to give out food, blankets etc to them back in the day, and that's when I realised just how many of them were from the army. They returned back to London after risking their lives for us to have a bit of freedom and we repay them with homelessness, lack of food and money.
    What would it cost the government to find a suitable place for them to live with enough food etc? I learned so much about how you can have a wife and family one day, and the next year you are begging on the streets. Anyone of us could find ourselves in the same position tomorrow, especially with all that is happening during this economic downturn.

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    1. Hi Rum-Punch Drunk,

      I was hoping that other angles I had not covered of this awful plight would be mentioned. And you, my friend, have brought up the situation I'm going to discuss in a future posting. Indeed, a large number of the homeless are from the armed forces. What happens is that a lot of those who served in the forces, were not given the life skills for when they left their forces career. They became neglected instead of supported.

      Thus, we have our heroes coming back with little or no support. An indifferent government who doesn't care. Armed forces personnel with mental health issues, PTSD and the horrors of being on the streets. It is beyond belief what our brave folks have endured. We need change and awareness and fast.

      With this economic downturn, the most vulnerable in society are continuing to suffer for the fortunate. My anger grows, my friend.

      Thank you for your most thoughtful comment.

      Gary

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  25. Hi Gary. It has always been the case that the have-nots are victims of the ones who have-too-much. Last week I watched a committee of smug MPs question a panel of PayDay Loan company bosses. One particular arrogant undemocratic MP was in the news this week; he had fiddled his expenses and claimed thousands illegally! The playing field is not level even higher up the greasy pole.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Hi bazza,

      In these times of austerity, the extremes are even more pronounced. The smug politicians, the corrupt evil ones, should be on trial for crimes against humanity. We have seen the ongoing, worrying times and we have to stop them. More are becoming homeless because of this evil British government. My heart is heavy with outrage, with pain and yet, somewhere in my heart is that flame of hope.

      Thank you, good sir.

      Gary

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  26. Yes. A thousand times, yes. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Chris,

      And yes, I thank you for understanding the truth.

      Hope you had a peaceful, positive weekend.

      Gary

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  27. Wow. That was so powerful. "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Stephen could be any man or woman, including you or me. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Hi Gwen,

      It does bring the reality home. Anybody could end up being in the situation that Stephen ended up in. Thank you for being here, Gwen.

      A peaceful Sunday to you.

      Gary

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  28. Hey Gary,

    I've been involved with a few "homeless countings" (where volunteers literally go out and *try* to do a physical count of the city/town's homeless population) and on both occasions it was one of the most moving days of my life.

    As a journalist, one of my favorite things to do was to highlight the homeless - because they are invisible - and we do ignore them (myself included)...

    However, but for the grace of God, I could be homeless, so we all could do a better job in turning the light away from us and on to those who really need a hand UP, not a hand out...

    Thanks for this and have a great weekend, my friend.

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    1. Hi Mark,

      I know of the heart-wrenching counting of the homeless of which you speak. It humbles and it does make you realise that we have to help our fellow humans in need. My respect and admiration for such amazing people, impacts who I am today.

      I think people make the homeless invisible, as such, is because it makes for uncomfortable thoughts in our head. If we ignore, it doesn't exist.

      But for the grace of God, it could indeed happen to you, to any of us. We have seen the plight of our Philippines brothers and sisters. In just an instant, life can be devastated. A hand UP. You said it so well, my friend.

      My weekend was warm and comfortable in my home. I'm blessed and thankful. I hope you and your loved ones had a peaceful weekend.

      Gary

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  29. Gary, I'm sure the folks you were worked with were very lucky to have you. Your caring shows in how you write about this topic.

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    1. Hi Danielle,

      Your words are very kind. I was humbled by the experience. I got the chance to see another reality and I became deeply grateful for all I have. To this day, I have friends from those times. I'm glad to report one friend is now settled in their own home.

      In peace and goodwill,

      Gary

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  30. I would look at those who did not help with disgust, rather than the other way around.

    Most people are selfish, cruel, and heartless at the best of times. You can, after all, tell a 'real man' (or woman, of course) by how they treat those less fortunate than themselves. Animal and human alike ...

    I despair of the human race.

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    1. Hi Wendy,

      It's a cruel, cynical world we live in. Thankfully, there are people like you who do your best to redress this awful imbalance. I like to think we are making strides towards that non-judgemental world we truly embrace. Respect to you and let's continue to try to make a difference.

      Hope your weekend was a good one, dear friend.

      Gary

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  31. Well this post certainly got me thinking about how I'm not doing enough to help. Years ago, my friends and I saw a man who was cold and hungry in the streets, so we bought a hot meal and brought it to him. He chased us away screaming profanities, and that made me scared of directly helping, although I do donate food and money. I should probably try again with an organized program so it's safer for me and the people I'd like to help.

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    1. Hi Jocelyn,

      You have brought up an important point. I can most certainly understand the apprehension after that incident. Of course, we have to be cautious. Sadly, a large amount of homeless people have mental health issues. Sometimes, it's also a pride thing. You are to be commended for doing what you do. You are a very thoughtful lady.

      Hope you had a peaceful weekend.

      Gary

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  32. Very touching and true.

    Hugs and chocolate!
    Shelly

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    1. Hi Shelly,

      The truth touches our hearts.

      Thank you, Shelly.

      In peace and kind wishes,

      Gary

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  33. being homeless must be a kind of hell. I am so very sorry for anyone in this situation

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    1. Hi Jenny,

      Having nearly been homeless myself, I got a glimpse of that hell. I do know that such situations can happen to anybody.

      Hope you had a peaceful weekend, Jenny.

      Gary

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  34. Compassion's contagious - thanks for passing it on, Gary.

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    1. Hi Mina,

      Compassion breeds compassion. You are good lady. Thank you, Mina.

      A peaceful Sunday to you.

      Gary

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  35. I have my own bunch of "friends" who live on the street. Each time I see them smiling and carrying on with life even when they do not know where their next meal is coming from, I am humbled. Thank you for this post, Gary. I get it.
    Love to Penny!

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    1. Hi Vidya,

      When we see such friends on the street and how they try to get on with it, is a most humbling experience. You experience what I have felt. To smile in the face of adversity, makes me realise how blessed my life is. Thank you, dear lady.

      Hope you had a lovely weekend.

      Gary

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  36. I've helped a few people here and there, not with money, but by sitting and talking. I'm always reminded of the many we have here who aren't truly homeless but beg anyway and make more in a day than I do. They were exposed on a TV show by a former "beggar" , maybe the whole thing was a set-up, I don't know, but I don't give money anymore.

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    1. Hi River,

      I totally understand what you mean. It is an outrage that there are those who use the ploy of being allegedly homeless to scam society. It is, of course, to the detriment to those genuine cases who are not getting the help they desperately need. You do what you do and that's comforting to know.

      Hope you had a nice weekend.

      Gary

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  37. That's a moving post, Gary. Three times in my life I've been so destitute I had no money to buy food, but I always found somewhere to sleep and worked very hard to improve my situation. I'm so much luckier than some and I'm grateful.

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    1. Hi Lexa,

      You had the resilience and the determination to get yourself out of some an overwhelming situation. Your realisation of how much worse it could get, has made you understand how grateful you are. Well said, Lexa.

      In peace and hope,

      Gary

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  38. Yes, Gary, I try to send money to Shelter every year. I'm so pleased you like my poetry xx

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    1. Hi Carole,

      You are a dear lady and dear friend to those less fortunate. Your poetry, delightful, thoughtful. I know this be a challenging time in your life and the life of your beloved. I shall visit your site shortly, dear lady. xx

      In peace and hope,

      Gary

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  39. Replies
    1. Hi Carole,

      Consider the repeat comment removed :)

      Gary

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  40. Glad you brought this subject to light, Gary. I too, have done much volunteer work with the homeless and less fortunate. As a matter of fact, in the sidebar of my blog is "Man in the Mirror," by Michael Jackson... it speaks about making some changes within ourselves in order to change the world, one person at a time.

    You're a good man, Charlie Brown.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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    1. Hi Michael,

      You, a man of caring and compassion, knows of the real truth. The man in the mirror and what reflection do we really want to see of ourselves and what the outside world see of us. A positive environment starts from within. You sir, are profoundly correct.

      Thank you, kind sir.

      In peace and hope,

      Gary

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  41. Years ago witnessed this first-hand when a hard-working family member suddenly lost his job and was old enough that no one would hire him. Fortunately, he and his wife were surrounded by family who could and would support them in any way possible. But the lesson learned is it only takes one unfortunate event, that could happen to any of us. Thanks for keeping the humanity before us. Let's hope it feeds compassion into action.

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    1. Hi Julie,

      Thank goodness that gentleman had a loving support system. You have highlighted one of the many underlying themes within the posting. For it can happen to any of us. Humanity needs to be there for each other. Compassion must feed compassion. Well said, dear lady.

      In peace and hope,

      Gary

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    2. It's so true how your life can change in an instant. We all have to be grateful for what we have, and try to be especially helpful of others as the nights grow colder. It's amazing that you've helped so many people Gary. Thanks for the reminder.

      Julie

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    3. Hi Julie Kemp,

      I know you are profoundly grateful for all you have. I know we feel blessed that we have a roof over our head. To be amongst so many who have suffered so much, inspired and humbled me. Some of the most dignified people I have been honoured to meet.

      Thank you, Julie.

      Gary

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  42. Touching video, Gary! So many times, homeless people are ignored. But they are people who need love, too. Thanks for bringing this to light!

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    1. Hi Sherry,

      The video brought about a wide range of emotions. We, of course cannot ignore the plight of the homeless. We never know when it could happen to any of us. Love and understanding goes a long ways. Thank you, Sherry.

      In peace and hope,

      Gary

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  43. It only takes one misstep, one more feather on the end of the of the teeter totter of life to tip the balance and send you reeling into no place to live, no way to regain your footing. May we never lose our humanity and may we never forget that the one on the street could be be us with only the weight of that same feather.

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    1. Hi Lee,

      One misstep along the pathway that seemed so comfortable. One moment, you have everything, the next, wondering if you will live through the night. You have most eloquently stated that humanity needs to be there for all humanity. Around the next corner, you never know what might happen.

      Thank you for your wise words, Lee.

      May your Sunday be one of peace, of hope.

      Gary

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  44. Beautifully written post Gary. The DM song 'Try Walking in My Shoes' sprang to mind instantly, no one should judge, many, many people are only one step away from homelessness, all the more-so at present, and much like your post, when I see those unfortunate enough to outdoors, battered by the weather it brings tears to my eyes. And yes, more than money is needed, care and hugs too. Every single homeless person is someone's child and we should give them as much help as we would do were they still in their childhood now.

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    1. Hi Michelle,

      Indeed and with the resonance of that song, how can anybody possibly understand unless they try to walk a mile in our shoes. It seems too many would pass judgement without bothering to find out the truth behind the cover. You are a kind, gentle lady. You see the homeless person and you know that they, the child that grew up with pain unbearable. We are all our children and we are going to make sure that the oppressors will not rob the dignity of those who are so unfortunate.

      Bless you, dear friend.

      Gary

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  45. Gary,
    You and Penny are a blessing to many. XXXxxx KISSss from MN.

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    1. Hi Kim,

      Thank you and we will bless each other. Penny is a symbolic blessing of the world she so wishes to realise. I am but her student and learning her lessons as best I can. And you, my superstar friend, keep smiling and sharing your important message.

      Hugs and respect,

      Penny's human,

      Gary xxx :)!

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  46. It is so hard to think that while we are in our home staying warm, eating more food than we should, there are many out there starving and cold. I try to help where I can, but there are so many and I just can't help them all.... even though I would like to.

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    1. Hi Terry,

      You do what you can do. If each of us did what we could to help those who are needy, the lives of those devastated would have just that little bit more comfort. I thank you, Terry.

      Gary

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  47. I think some people avoid what makes them afraid and being homeless is terrifying. compassion is SUCH an important character trait for us to teach our children.

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    1. Hi Jemi,

      You would be most correct. There are those who try not to see what's happening. It does make for uncomfortable viewing and I know that some people visualise themselves living like that. That's why, as you note, compassion and caring for our friends in need is vital. A lesson to teach our children.

      Thank you, Jemi.

      Gary

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  48. I wish I had so much more to give. But most of the time I feel the people who want to give the most are the ones that have little to offer, yet the ones that have so much give so little. Why is that? Maybe I'm not looking in the right direction. Hugs to you and Penny.

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    1. Hi Elise,

      We give what we can give. Just a moment to chat with the homeless, the rough sleepers, those who feel so alone, can make all the difference in the world. Those that have the least, often give the most. A form of empathy because they realise it could happen to them. There are, of course, some notable philanthropists. And then there are those who don't care and refuse to see the reality of the most vulnerable in society. In these austere times, it's getting worse.

      Hugs to you and Duchess.

      Gary

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  49. Well that just made me weep. But the saddest truth is, he's probably still homeless, still in need, still sitting out in the cold.

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    1. Hi Bish,

      The video brings out so many emotions. And yes, I wept. I know many of us have tried to help get people like Stephen off the streets and into safe housing. Sadly, he might well still be there. Even sadder, with the ruthless British government, more people are becoming homeless and hungry.

      Thank you, dear friend.

      Gary

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  50. Did I read you right on John Greys "Going Gently"? Your son got a job.? Woohoo....what terrific, fantastic news that is.

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    1. Hi Delores,

      You read correctly :) My son has had a steady full-time job for about six months. He is now making plans to get on with his life. Which means, after four years of heartache, so can I. Thank you for your thoughtful wishes, Delores. You are a marvel.

      Gary

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  51. I think the hardest part is not being able to lift them up. You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, or you can teach him how to fish and he will never go hungry. We spent time in NYC, living near the "Projects" (aka Slums), and the part that killed me was the mentality of the people living in poverty. They had no idea there was anything better out there, and it killed me that I couldn't mind meld and show them a greater vision of what life could be. All of us get stuck in our current reality, right? It's hard to imagine we can change.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Crystal,

      The thing is a number of those folks may well have had such overwhelming circumstances happen that through such a situation, they might have ongoing mental health issues. Our environment has a direct impact on our lives. The trouble is, with so little resources, a number of the homeless find that little help is at hand.

      Our current reality can change just like that. Some realities are hell on earth. Those that can get out of such seemingly hopeless situations have our total admiration. Just one magical moment can make a world of difference.

      Thank you, Crystal.

      Gary

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  52. You're absolutely right. Most people can handle the concept of "the homeless" only if they lump them together into a single compartment and consider them as one faceless mass. If people look into the individual faces and listen to the individual stories, then they can see "the homeless" as a group made up of individual human beings from all walks of life. That leads to the discomforting realization that indeed, "there but for the grace of God go I."

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    1. Hi Susan,

      They find it easier to mass all those who are homeless, who are "rough sleepers", into one stereotyped category. The stories, varied. Stories of people with faces who had their lives devastated by overwhelming events.

      I do believe some do understand that the homeless person could actually be them. It humbles, oh how it humbles.

      Thank you, Susan.

      Gary

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  53. Beautiful. So are you.
    Thanks, Gary.
    Blessings,
    xoRobyn

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    Replies
    1. Hi Robyn,

      Such a beautiful thing to say. The beauty of compassion and the beauty of making this a better world.

      Bless you, Robyn.

      Gary
      xx

      Delete
  54. Beautifully said. I wish there were more compassion in this world, but just when I think it's gone, people surprise me. Nothing like a big heart to make my heart feel big. I hope to teach my son to be kind by showing him kindness to others.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you. We get those moments of magic when compassion warms the heart, makes us realise that there are those who care. Big hearts produce big hearts. Your son is going to be just fine with a mother like you.

      Take care,

      Gary

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  55. Simple kindness is in short supply some days. It's hard to see an individual face when at every street corner (and outside very grocery and fast food restaurant) there are so many begging for change. Our society has not treated veterans, the disabled, the poor well.

    ........dhole

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    1. Hi Donna,

      Quite right. And just a moment of kindness can make such a difference. The veterans, the disabled, the vulnerable, those with mental health issues, are our forgotten ones. It's an outrage.

      Thank you, Donna.

      Gary

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  56. What a powerful video. The homeless have heartbreaking stories about how they became homeless. People with kind hearts are an immense help, but I wish more could be done.

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    1. Hi Medeia,

      That powerful video touches all sorts of emotions. The stories I have been told by those so unfortunate, would shock those who just assume they brought it on themselves. If our governments didn't just pretend it wasn't happening, more could be done. When I think of the number of veterans on the streets, it brings me to tears.

      Thank you, Medeia.

      Gary

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  57. She calls out to the man on the street
    "Sir can you help me?
    It's cold and I've nowhere to sleep,
    Is there somewhere you can tell me?"

    He walks on doesn't look back
    He pretends he can't hear her
    Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
    Seems embarrassed to be there

    Oh, think twice...
    Cause it's another day for you and me in paradise...

    This Phil Collins' song nails it! Sums it up in a neat little package.
    (I couldn't see the video in my browser... will try again later...)



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    1. Hi Michelle,

      That song resonates with the underlying thoughts within this posting and the video. I'm sorry you couldn't see the video at this time.

      In peace and hope,

      Gary

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  58. Those masked would have freaked me out, but I guess I'd already be sufficiently freaked and helpless feeling if I were on the street. It must be a terrible thing and in reality I know that with a few unfortunate circumstances in my own life I might not be far from this situation.

    I wish I had more so I could do more.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lee,

      Those masks can be somewhat unsettling. Then again, looking like Guy Fawkes is all the rage these days. You know just how one twist of fate and you could be the homeless man.

      My friend, you do what you can do. That's to be admired.

      Gary

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  59. Lots of truth to your statement! Not sure if I agree with their tactic. I'd rather give blankets, food or something like that than money, but good points made. As a probation officer who puts the incarcerated into residential treatment programs, and as a daughter of someone who owns a boarding care home for the mentally disabled, I understand many of the multiple levels of reasons for why their are homeless. Many sad situations, but many which won't be helped by handing out money to them. Writer’s Mark

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    1. Hi Nancy,

      I'm not sure I'd refer to it as a tactic. It was just a spontaneous gesture of goodwill. Of course, blankets, food and even a kind chat, can make someone feel special. You are correct and many a situation has happened to get someone into such a plight. As a counsellor who has worked with those with mental health issues, the homeless, the rough sleepers, I see the video as symbolic and humanity being there for a brother in need. Money should not be the solution in a handout. You know that our governments also have a lot to answer for.

      Thank you, Nancy.

      Gary

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  60. It's SO easy to make snap judgments, and in the end, they only hurt the judge.

    Thanks for the post.

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    1. Hi Charlie,

      Indeed snap judgements are the easy way out. Ah to live in a non-judgemental world. Thank you, Charlie.

      Gary

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  61. Growing up in the cities of New York I've seen a lot of tragedy in poverty and homelessness. I live in Arizona now, but when you see the poor every day it affects you. I still see them as tragic victims more than creepy people in rags. A great reminder Gary. Have an awesome day.

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    1. Hi Maurice,

      You, good sir, see beyond the creepy people in rags. You see that there is a story that is within the hearts of the unfortunate. Bless you for this and thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      Gary

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  62. It seems like poor people and homeless families still are living the same as they did in the dark ages. Fortunately, we have some shelters near here where we like to donate food and clothing. One of them is called Martha's Village and they have programs to help people get their lives back on track. It may not always work but it can be a beginning.

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    1. Hi Eve,

      And the reminders of the dark ages are becoming more prevalent. Thank goodness there is Martha's Village for those in such a plight. And yes, some will take such an opportunity to turn their lives around. Sadly, some, no matter how much you try to help, are lost in a personal hell.

      Thank you, Eve. Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

      Gary

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  63. Makes me extra grateful to have family I can count on.

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    1. Hi mshatch,

      Absolutely. Having a network of family and friends is so vital.

      Enjoy your weekend.

      Gary

      Delete
  64. Hi Y'all!

    Great post!

    Penny love your header photo!

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    Replies
    1. Hi Hawk,

      Thank you.

      Penny is delighted you love her header photo :)

      Penny's human,

      Gary

      Delete
  65. This is my second time through for a look at this post, klahnie. Really well written, wonderful video. And a reminder that as bad as some have it, others have it worse.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Narrator,

      I'm grateful you visited twice and left such a thoughtful comment. Very kind words you have stated. The video is symbolic of hope in a hopeless world. It puts our lives into perspective and how blessed many of us are. I know I'm humbled and I know that the homeless person could well be me.

      A good weekend to you.

      Gary

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  66. Beautiful post, Gary. While reading this, I can't help but think of the parallels of comparing this to mental safety too. Those nights when one wonders if they'll make it through the night or not. There's so much some people have to face--on different levels--whether it's physical/mental/spiritual/etc. And I love how you're able to bring the message across, Gary. You have a gift of bringing feeling through the page.

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    1. Hi Morgan,

      Thank you very much for that. Our mental health well being is conducive to our environment. I know that situations that overwhelm can have an awful impact on our mental health, our physical and spiritual health. The message really is that circumstances can happen to any of us. Being there for a brother and sister in need will make for a more compassionate world. We never know when we might need that helping hand.

      I appreciate you caring comment, Morgan.

      A peaceful, positive weekend to you.

      Gary

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    2. And to you, wonderful Gary!!!

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Morgan. Keep smiling, my friend :)

      Delete
  67. Beautifully written reminder that we need to treat all fellow humans with dignity. That is why I got involved in the fundraising book that I did. (I think it was before we met...but if you're interested, click on the picture of it to learn more). We took professional portraits of homeless men and women who were willing to share their stories, and then writers (about 40 of us) wrote word portraits about them. Proceeds went to help two organizations in our area. It was an honor to be part of it. (It's my first published story.)
    Tina @ Life is Good

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  68. P.S I forgot to say that the picture is in the sidebar at Life is Good.
    Tina @ Life is Good

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tina,

      My human is out right now and thus I shall respond to your most thoughtful response. As you will know, my human and I, share your ethos most profoundly. I have had a look at what you were involved with. Dignity and respect for fellow humans, without passing judgement, without making easy assumptions, is the way forward. You should be very proud of what you do to try and ease the pain of a fellow human in need. Bless you, Tina.

      Pawsitive wishes,

      Penny.

      Delete

I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.