The Homeless named Jose’ HOW
For some the beautiful sunset is a bad beginning to a cold night
What ever you do for the least of these you do for love.
If you spent time on, in and around the streets in the California South one thing you learn is Jose’. “Hi my name is Eric, what is your name?” If the answer is Jose’ it is like saying; “go F yourself and leave me alone”. If you proceed with a close proximity dialogue you have been warned that it could get violent. The mere act of sticking out your hand for a shake can get you a break in it. So for me in my meddling style I had to figure out how to get around this problem.
Have you ever just wanted to be alone?
I think most healthy folk like some “me” time on their own. Maybe it is shopping in crowd, maybe sitting on a rock, or just maybe shutting the door and laying down for a bit. Now amp that up with some serious anti-social disorders and depression and you get a person that generally wants to be left alone all the time. Normally it is not all the time but a lot of the time. One way to do that is to set yourself up as so disgusting and obnoxious that nobody dare intrude in your space. For example be a homeless street person with a snarl.
Intervention is tough but good.
How many times in your life have you been distraught and someone won’t leave you alone. Well for me that is plenty. But as I look back, friends and family refusing to let me isolate, sit in my pity pot and get weird always brought me relief from the angst I was feeling, whether I liked it or not. A little space is great but too much can be bad.
So how do we approach Jose’?
Smile, talk about the weather, talk politics, deride the man and then offer something, anything. It works.
Why is it important? That is a good question.
There was a new priest who was assigned to a ghetto parish. They ran a homeless shelter. He was assigned there. On his second night someone brought in a man in horrible shape. Stinking, filthy with crust, matted hair and organic matter in his beard. The priest was happy to receive him but in order to stay he had to get somewhat cleaned up, yet violently refused. After an hour the priest gave up and asked the head sister what to do. The sister came promptly, said not a word and sat next to the man for an hour. Then she gently touched then held his hand. Silently. In about another hour the man spoke and agreed to get cleaned up. Later on the priest asked the man, what had changed his attitude. The man replied, that was the first time someone has touched me in a decade.
Sometimes saying prayers is not enough you have got to reach out and be the prayer.
Human interaction is a miracle
We, each one of us is gifted with love. Each one of us on any given day can lose that gift. It takes the love of another to give it back. And for every ounce of love that fills our hearts, there is an ounce less of anything but love.