If you Google the word “homeless,” you’ll receive more than 35 million images of people wrapped up in blankets, alone or with family, huddled together for warmth. Some hold signs of promise scribbled on slabs of cardboard boxes. Others use newspaper for insulation. And others? They want to believe they are not among those 35 million images. They are not a number on an Internet search engine.
And they would be right. They are so much more than a number.
There are hundreds of small moments in the past in which I had given up on God. In which I had wished, so very deeply, for Him to save me or someone I love.
This is not one of those moments.
This is one of those moments in which I pray that He will continue to send me down this path. That He will help me turn my life around. A year ago, I thought I had lost hope. The other day, I realized how wrong that was. I have not lost hope. It is not the sock in an invisible shoot in the back of my dryer, banished from me for all intents and purposes. Hope was misplaced, buried under some big words like depression and anxiety.
And now, as I enter a new phase in my life in which strangers in other parts of the country become friends, I am so thankful. I’ve been saved by the existence of the Internet.
There are thousands of fallen angels in this world, and my greatest fear is not being able to save them all. Yesterday, I spoke on the phone with two people who are trying to build a foundation for real change to combat homelessness. The founders of KNO Clothing wanted to give consumers an incentive to do the right thing. And it’s sad, really, that we even need an incentive. I am at a point in my life where that incentive grows smaller and smaller every day, replaced instead by the feeling I get when someone sends me a message, an e-mail, a tweet, telling me that my words changed them somehow.
If words have power, I will be a happy girl. Because words are my friends, and I can line them up and rearrange them and mold them until they give you power. Until they do what they need to do. Edit, re-write, re-edit. Until the world looks like a brighter shade of yesterday. Until the crayons have not only colored inside the lines, but outside of them too. Until all options for change are exhausted and the only thing left to do is wait.
I believe that we, the ones who have trouble coloring inside the lines, are the ones who can help these souls. These souls wandering around like nomads, looking for a place to seek refuge. And they’re not just one of the 35 million images on my computer screen. Homelessness is more than the state of losing a roof over one’s head. It’s a mindset for some people. There are so many more homeless in this world than just those identified in the statistics run by government organizations. There are those who have lost a piece of themselves, who have forgotten why they roll out of bed in the morning and shimmy into a pair of slacks and a blazer. They are the ones who eat Honey Nut Cheerios because they think it’s the right thing to do. Because their doctor said their cholesterol was too high.
I will be immeasurably happy if I can light a spark inside of them. If I can remind them how to see. Remind them where their home is. Where they live. A house is not a home. Having a house does not mean you’re not homeless. It only means you’re a little less homeless.
And all of these people have lives worth living. Ideas worth spreading. Passions worth sharing.
All of these people have the ability to make our world better. They’re just looking for a chance. And we can be that for them.