Showing posts from May, 2014

Loneliness and Grief

As most of you know, I work in a homeless shelter on the northside of Chicago. 
At Cornerstone Community Outreach, I witness daily how people have been rejected from their families and friends for many different reasons; they're lonely and grieving because they've gotten into trouble, burnt too many bridges and caused other people to suffer. Unfortunately, their families and friends have wound up saying to them, "we've had enough, it's time to go!" As a result, they end up homeless and staying with us at Cornerstone.  I also see people ending up homeless, grieving and lonely, because of other things they may struggle with; it may be their mental illness, their addictions, a physical limitation, some sickness or a death in their family! All these things are very real, and unfortunately, they also create isolation, grief and loneliness within our communities.  To be honest, this is a question that challenges me, it causes me to analyze my own response to how…

An Irksome Reality!

Here's something that irks me!
Something that drives me nuts!

I know a fella who was homeless for an incredible 40 years!
I know another fella who was homeless for 30 years..... and what's more, this man is a quiet and humble Vietnam Veteran!  I also know plenty of men and women who've experienced homelessness for well over 10 long tedious years! 
These numbers are very hard to comprehend; especially for those of us who enjoy the warmth and comfort of our own homes....
The thing that irks me can be summed up with this sentence: after all these years of homelessness, a few diligent outreach workers and caseworkers on the "front lines" created possibilities for many individuals to be accepted into housing programs and then qualify to move into permanent housing, yet as they move toward the light at the end of the tunnel, a bureaucratic nightmare blackens their horizon, inevitably delaying or even preventing their dreams from becoming reality! 

To phrase this another way…

Addiction and Recovery!

Jimmie knew the answers, but he kept on coming back, again and again, seeking the same solutions to the same problems! He was tired. He was tired of being tired!

I have known Jimmie for quite a few years, he loves the Lord and frequently prays,I see and know that he wants to do right, but his addictions kept on seducing him and controlling him. I've wept with him, prayed with him and watched his life unfold before my eyes. I sadly and hopelessly watch as the bottle, prescription medications and illegal drugs have caused him to lose his job, contact with his wife, kids and many friends! I mourn as I see him constantly wearing mysterious new cuts and bruises, rotating in and out of jail and not being able to escape the grips of homelessness.
Jimmie desperately wants to overcome his addictions, he wants to live a life of freedom, he wants to be reunited with his family and he wants to live the life God intended him to live! I've sent him into detox on several occasions, with the i…