- Mental Health
Helping those in need: Homeless, the reason for the season; Helping when we are able; My own story
WHAT DO I DO?
A few years ago, I decided to move back to my hometown and try to start over. I had been away from West Virginia for 5 years and I really didn't like Arizona. I had nothing against the sunshine state, but I always called West Virginia home. I made prior plans before leaving Arizona so I knew I had a job waiting on me once I arrived.
My wife and I were going to live with her dad and step-mom for the time being. They had bought a new house up the holler and we were going to stay there until I could save some money up. They promised me that they had found me a job and told me that I could use their vehicle. Come to find out, I had neither when I arrived. There was no job waiting and they never let me use the car. And on top of that, they were still living in an apartment because the house wasn't done.
They began complaining soon after like we were a disease. I knew we was in trouble. We were 13 miles away from town and that is a long walk to look for work. It was winter and i couldn't do summer odd end jobs just yet. A few weeks had passed and her step-mom kicked me out. She said I was lazy and didn't want to work. It mad me furious. I didn't argue and I just left. How could I find a job when I didn't have a car? How could I get back and forth if I did find a job? My wife and I packed our bags and left. We didn't know where we was going and it was very cold outside.
We ended up staying at a old friends house a mile down the road. I was relieved to have shelter for a night. I figured my friend would help me in my time of need since I was there for him in the past. I did a lot for them and I figured they could help me until I got back on my feet. The next morning, I was told to leave. What can you do? My wife and I packed up and left.
We found shelter in an apartment building down the road, but it was no closer to town. I kept trying to lean on friends for a ride to town, but they all acted weird. After a few weeks, I realized that I didn't have one true friend. I was homeless, as well as my wife. I never felt so weak, so depressed. I felt like giving up.
TO LIVE OR NOT?
I wouldn't lie, at that time in my life, I wished for death. Even with my wife, I had never felt so alone. To paint a picture in your head, it was like we were the only two people left in the world. I felt so bad for my wife, much more then myself. She didn't deserve to go through this. She deserved so much more, but she stayed by my side. She could have went back home. They gave her that choice, but she didn't.
We met a guy living in this apartment building and he still had power. We would go in to get warm every now and then. All three of us helped each other the best that we could. After months of cold weather, this was a blessing. Just to sleep and here the humming of power, it was a great feeling that I never paid attention too. I felt at peace for the first time in months.
But all things considered, we were still homeless. It was a struggle just to eat and we both lost a lot of weight. We had no friends or family help us and we were home. This is where we both grew up. I was good to people, my friends. Yet, in my time of need, nobody was behind the door.
It is hard for me to describe the way I felt at this point in my life. It made me stronger, but I wanted to give up so many times. I couldn't find a job without a ride. I was in deep depression. I believe it led to the substance abuse. I just didn't care anymore. I figured I would die from the cold or from starvation. I remember waking up one morning and feeling the warmth of the sun. Spring was here and as I walked outside from the apartment steps, I felt a sense of comfort. I believe it was God. I remember feeling like things were going to change.
THE LOVE OF A STRANGER
Spring was here and I was finally able to go out and work. I would go door to door and ask for work. It became my full time job. After nearly 6 months of no income, I was finally making money again. I was doing pretty well surprisingly. I went to this huge house one day and I knocked on the door. An old lady answered. I told her my name and my purpose. She told me she had been praying for help and she had all kinds of work needing done. Her name was Nancy Hopkins. We quickly became close friends and she had all kinds of work that needed done.
She gave me two big projects to do, one that would take a few weeks. We became close and it was great to have someone to talk too again. I was so mad at my friends, I didn't even look their way anymore. She quickly became a close friend and sometimes we wold just talk. I was afraid to tell her that I was homeless, but I did anyway. The next day that i came down, she told me that she wanted me to stay in her camper out back. I couldn't believe it and I said yes. At this time, it was late summer and it was beginning to get cool again. The camper was beautiful and we even had tv. It was a great feeling to see the television. As it became cooler outside, she came out one day and told us that she wanted to move us inside. We became a family,
I did everything that I could for her for free, since we had everything we needed again. Ms. Hopkins and I were complete strangers when we first met. She took my wife and I to town to fill out applications and we both found a job together and we worked the same shift. She took us back and forth. We finally got back on our feet and we rented an apartment in town. The rest is history, but she changed my life. I was a stranger to her and even so, she became family. A stranger helped me before my family and friends did. From the bottom of my heart Nancy, thank you and God Bless.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HELPING OTHERS
The holiday season is quickly approaching. I hope we all can put in the extra effort this year to help someone in need. When I was homeless, a plate of food was like a hundred dollars. A new pair of socks was awesome. It is the little things that matter the most. It is usually what we take for granted. If you are able, think about doing something special for the homeless and needy.
I really don't know where I would be without her help. She was in her 70s at that time. She is probably near 80 now. I will always be thankful for her and I will always hold a special place for her in my heart. She changed my life. I never thought that I would get help from a complete stranger. It was a miracle.
If it wasn't for Nancy, I don't know if I would be in this position. I am doing great now. I wanted to show you how a complete stranger changed my life and I am forever grateful. If you can help someone, please do so. There are a lot of good people out there that have made mistakes. None of us our perfect. We all make mistakes
There are many others just like myself walking the streets as we speak. Please, if you can, change a life. You have the power to do so. Make a difference. We all are equal and to have the ability to change someone's direction and life, that is the best gift someone can receive. They might not know it at first, but it is. Thank you for reading friends and I wish you all the best during this holiday season. God Bless you all and a special thanks to Nancy Hopkins of Omar. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Merry Christmas.