Friday, June 19, 2009


California, specifically our corner of California, has a lot of homeless people. We get to see our homeless up close and personal at virtually every exit ramp of the I-10 here in the Coachella Valley. I've posted about this before and I've explained my "bucks for 'bos", which I keep in my ashtray...cause they ain't no ashes in that tray so...why not bucks? On occasion, I see a homeless woman. Sometimes it's my "doppelganger", the lady that looks strangely like myself and sometimes it's.....not.

Today it was a lady that was just homeless. I saw her at the end of the exit ramp as I was behind a long semitrailer truck. I had plenty of time to see her and get a buck ready. As usual, she was invisible to everyone else. In 1996, the Conference of Mayors (yea, I don't know where that was either) determined that 14% of the urban homeless in 29 cities was female. That was 13 years ago. I don't think it's gotten any better. In 2005, the Conference of Mayor took another poll (they are a busy lot, those mayors) and in half of the cities polled it was determined that domestic violence accounted for half...HALF...of the homeless families (that's moms and children). A study in Toronto found that homeless women under the age of 45 are ten (10!!!) times more likely to die than other women their age. One of the researchers of the study said, "Women don't fit the stereotype of homelessness, he said. "Most people imagine an older man sitting on a street corner. The women tend to make themselves less visible. They avoid putting themselves in the public eye."

I don't really know what the point of this post is. I'm frustrated and more than a little guilty that I haven't done more, I suppose. As I drove past this sister, I slowed down and she smiled, which is what she always does to anyone who stops, I'm relatively certain. But I purposely touched her hand. There was no one behind me and I didn't care anyway. We just held hands for the briefest moment and I said, "God bless you" and she kept smiling and said thank you...but the moment held more for me than was just another day for her, sitting in the sun, another car, another person...but for me it was a sister with pretty eyes whose hand was warm and her voice was raspy and she was about my size and height and she had to sit on a wooden box that probably hurts. She's a daughter of God. Just like me. Nothing is different about us relative to that. Not one thing. Not. One. Thing.


Cindy said...

Deb, I think there is a difference..the difference is the choices you made. When I was going though my rough time, I would take the ferry into San Francisco and sit and watch the homeless men and women and came to the conclusion that it was all about the choices we made in life..The free will...the need to have faith and choose well. That sometimes fine line between the homeless in America and the rest of us is the choice not to give up, take care of ourself (not to abuse drugs or alcohol)
Of course you might mean there is not difference in the way God loves each of us and that of course would be true :)
I want to go see the movie UP this weekend...are you "UP" to it?

Eli Bowman said...

Nice post, Mom. I think you're right. We never know what has happened in their lives to bring them there (unless we ask, and we usually don't), and it shouldn't even matter because we need to have charity ANYWAY. I bet that moment did mean something to her too, Mom...don't think it didn't. She may have thought about you all day and how your smile and true affection were worth more than all the nickles or dimes or dollars she got that day. That was something that she could never buy and she didn't even go looking for it. It came to her through you. And it came to you through Christ.