Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Time Well Spent With The Homeless.....[edited version]

My Time Well Spent With The Homeless…..

By Brother Tracy Gibson…..

A funny thing happened on my Way to Dinner with my Homeless Friends... I discovered who I am and my own values through the way my so-called friends treated ME. One of my friends told me that Homeless People were OK, but that some of them were ``NASTY.'' That one word cut me worse than a surgeon's knife--deep and long--like the scar on my chest and upper stomach left from a liver biopsy. [Thank GOD it was be-nine] I will carry that scar for the rest of my life, just like I will carry the scar from that one word ``NASTY'--the rest of my life...

I carry the word NASTY for several reasons. I carry it because that is similar to what my Mother said about me when she discovered I was a homosexual. ``Why do you defile your body so?'' she asked me. She might as well have said, ``How can you do those NASTY things with other men?'' This cut me to the quick. I was only in my early 20's when she said this, but I knew I had been irrevocably hurt by those simple words. They especially hurt because they came from my own flesh and blood--my Mother, who I loved dearly and holistically since I was able to first breathe GOD's fresh air. They hurt even more because it was always My Mother who protected me and guarded me against the harsh words of My Father. [I have forgiven Him as totally as I can]. It was like a mutiny on the bounty. It was like pain a thousand times worse than being slapped directly in the face by someone you love dearly--and for seemingly NO GOOD REASON....... I couldn't determine a good reason for the term she used from what I had heard because being a homosexual was all I knew after unsuccessfully chasing girls around in High School and taking a bath up-stream in De-Nile for a few short months during the summer of 1977...

Yes. Maybe I was and am too sensitive. Maybe I need to get over it. And I have tried and I work at healing every day, but We live in a society that hurts to the quick again and again and again in a thousand ways. We have to be more receptive to the LOVe we find in our hearts and in the hearts of others. We have to allow others to come to us with the pain WE have caused them and ask for their forgiveness as Well. I am sure the Brother who used that word ``NASTY'' about Homeless People was not trying to hurt MY feelings, but when you sit and eat and dine with certain people, just about any people, you begin to understand their pain. That is why the Whites kept the luncheonettes ALL White during the early days of the Civil Rights struggles; that is Why the Whites during Apartheid in South Africa kept Blacks away from their all-White establishments. When you share space with the ones you hate you get to see them up close and personal and if you have ANY humanity in you,--and if they have ANY humanity in them--you begin to understand and feel and even like or LOVe. Close proximity is something that can begin to heal wounds. That is if you have ANY humanity in you at all.

Then again, there are some people who are just hateful, but GOD will have HIS way with them as Well, before this crazy experiment called life on earth is through.

I have eaten with these people, my Homeless Brothers and Sisters, about TEN times. I learned something each time. First, Me. Being the bossy type, I would do the whole feeding the Homeless thing a lot differently than they do it where I go for food. I would always ask for at least a few cents from them so they could feel a part of the process--not just feel that something was being given to them. This was the brilliance of what Father Devine did back in the day. Psychologists have proven that people feel more incorporated into what is going on if they are giving something to whatever process they are taking part in. Yet this simple fact gets away from the good-hearted, good-natured people who prepare the food and serve the food to the Homeless People at Arch Street United Methodist Church and the other places I went to as well….. If Homeless People are asked for a simple penny they will feel part of the process. Such money, although it may be low in quantity, is worth more ethically--get that--ethically--than a Millionaire's Dollars from a rich man or rich woman because it comes from the heart and is probably treasured more as it is harder to come by. [There is something about an old woman in the Bible who gave Her last money to either Jesus or the Church and was blessed.] I am sure there must be a Bible quote about the money of the poor being of great value as opposed to the money of the rich being sometimes, valueless ethically--somewhere in the King James Version.

When the poor begin to understand, as some of them already have, that the further they put their hands out for food and a hand out, the more the Oligarchy puts their hand into the poor person's pocket to take away whatever financial and economic blessings they have. The more poor people realize this the better off they become instantly. When they are asked to be a part of their own economic support system, the quicker they, the poor as a community of People, will be able to face the future as proud, courageous People ready to learn how to take their future into their own hand--not as hoards of victims unable to bend, form and mold their own destinies.

At last Blush, when I ate with the Homeless this time the food was a bit better. It didn't seem to be something that was just thrown together. The people who serve the food are ultimately almost always White, but the Homeless are largely Black. There are increasing numbers of Whites as well. But what really gets me is the children of the Homeless. The little boys and little girls who are under 12, some as young as five and six, who are in a matrix, a storm of poverty that is NOT of their making. They make me wonder how on Earth are they getting schooling? Where is their next meal coming from? What about the meal after that? ANd there are thousands of such children. Even with the food stamp program that the Republicans want to cut. Even with the Medicare Cuts coming along as the Wall Street and Madison Avenue Executives take home million dollar bonuses. Where is the fairness? Where is the humanity? Where is GOD in this church that gives food, but gives few solutions as to how to grow from poverty. The poor little faces. The poor little hands and feet…... GOD please help them, or give me something to help them with. I'll get some people together and help them if you help me GOD!!!

The dinner on Sunday March 17th at 6:30 P.M. was chicken in gravy with those fake mashed white mashed potatoes and string beans. The string beans were not canned. This was a good thing and there was even a little salad. There was enough for people to have seconds. This was good because some Homeless People don't know when or where their next meal is coming from. There is a Sistah named Sicarie Rhodes in Philadelphia who has helped feed Homeless People for almost Her entire Adult life. There are other activists; Black; White; Latin; Gay; Straight; Transgendered; Jewish; Christian; Muslim and Orthodox--that help Homeless People as Well. I just have a shortage of food and have to eat there. I write about it as a learning process for me and I share the stories with Others. It is a reality that some people might never know, but it is a reality that many of us shouldn't ever want to know or get to know. . . Still, We Should care. . But the story of the Untouchables in East India is much, much worse. I carry their story with me each and every day as well because I promised some East Indians I would write about them when I was in South Africa for the Conference Against Racism in 2001. I never wrote the article, but their story is also in me and harkens for a word or two, so I am letting them know I have not forgotten them as well. I will have to do research about the untouchables because I can't go to India and see them and be with them. I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY AND I WILL NOT TAKE IT FROM SOURCES THAT ARE ATTATCHED TO UNSAVORY INTERESTS…..…… Research is all I can do and writing ... My activism is largely held down and out by the fear of the people and their indifference and by the government and their Patriot Act I and Patriot Act II and the Other National Security Act and by the haters, but I will not let that stop me.

Re-Edited on may 12th, 2013

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