Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Streets Paved In Poverty

Join Blog Action Day and be the difference that makes it change.

This is a special story about one man. Meet Jason.

Jason, like thousands of people across our country, is homeless. The day I visited with him, he was homeless in Santa Fe, sitting on the sidewalk on San Francisco street, just outside of a Starbucks coffee shop.

I was hurrying past him to go from one appointment to the next and I saw him out of the the corner of my eye, sitting there with his hand on the dogs leash, holding his guitar, staring at the sidewalk from under the low brim of his weathered hat.

I was compelled to stop. "What songs do you know?" I asked with a smile.

His voice was very quiet. "I just play my own stuff."

"Could I please buy a song from you, sir?" I knelt down before him.

He picked up his chin and his guitar, and played a tune for me. We visited for a while. He said he's been all over the country, from Florida to LA and the toughest part of being homeless is finding a dry place to stay.

The rain that has curled his hat has also washed the words off of his guitar, and his hopes and dreams right away with them.

How do you get up out of that hole? Where do you go from there?
On to the next town.
The road does not stop.

The problem of homelessness in this country does not stop.

There are efforts made here and there, by local churches, by independent groups and by individuals who want to make a difference, but it's like painting a house with an artists fine tipped paintbrush.

Our leaders have not yet found a solution to this issue, but some are trying. There must be more effort, more decision, more action to make it happen. If you live in the states, contact your leaders; your mayor, your city counsel people, your senator and your governor and tell them that this must change now. There are solutions for every situation that people are willing to change.

Someday your road will lead you home, Jason.


Unknown said...

What a wonderful post, Scarlett. This topic, "poverty" is sooo huge - it has so many facets. There is, in reality, not one problem, but many, and multiple solutions are needed - big ones and little ones.
Good on you for participating in Blog Action Day.

Anonymous said...

one would naturally think of african children when poverty is mentioned.

thanks for reminding me that there are others, like Jason, who are in poverty too!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Beautiful post, Scarlett. I'm sure Jason's music was some of the most bittersweet you've ever heard.

Clowncar said...

Nice post, and a subject dear to my heart.

When I lived in Denver, I gave my Christmas tithe to the Denver mission.

Now I give to Habitat for Humanity.

molly said...

What a beautiful photo.So many people who do have a home are just a heartbeat, or a few days days of illness, away from losing it. What happened? Is it because so many marriages fall apart? Or because people don't bother to get married anymore? Or because we all move around so much and don't have the support of a community who knows us as more than a number and cares about us? Or because there are so many more of us than there were fifty years ago? I wish I had answers, but I don't.
Maybe if more people were kind and caring enough to see a real person when they see Jason, as you did, we could change this uncaring world.........

Suburbia said...

A wonderful post. So many people just walk on by but you stopped.
I posted today, missed yesterday, sometimes it just reaches out and hits us between the eyes.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Well done, Scarlett.

Jason deserves so much credit for just keeping on despite the odds. Life has become a deadly game of Musical Chairs in which there simply are not enough places for everyone to be safe, warm and dry.

If we cannot find a way to change this, we do not deserve to call ourselves a civilized society.

rel said...

Well done lady!

Compassion is mankind's path to salvation. Too often it's the path not taken.
rel said...

What a great guy - I hope he's warm tonight

CarpeDM said...

Beautifully written and thank you for taking the time to stop and listen and also let us know about it.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

lovely post. Sorry I've been quiet and that I haven't been back over the Divide to try for another visit!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Hi Vanilla!

It is huge, there's no way we could encompass it in its entirety; even with all of the bloggers who tackled it on this day of action. I hope that someday it will be a part of our history that changed our futures for the better.

Dear CS,

There are so many others, people that we forget so easily.
Poverty knows few boundaries.

Hello Michelle!

It certainly was. He was afforded some dignity in selling it to me.


That is very good, it makes me so glad that we are neighbors and blog buddies, and more than that, that you've procreated and are teaching your children to do the same.

Miss Molly,

If more people opened their eyes and cared, it would not exist. We have the power to change it, but we don't; and I have no answers or reasons for that.
It's confounding.


It does, doesn't it? Sometimes... smack in the middle.
Loved your post, it was very good.


Your truth is blatant and shaming; and it is deserved. How could it ever be acceptable to our society as a whole? How could it be continued when we have the capability to stop it?
Someday, perhaps.


You're right. Did we ever have compassion enough to benefit the whole, at any point in the history of humanity?
I'll keep praying and wishing and working for it.

Life behind the coach,

I hope so too, as I do for all of the unseen who wait in the shadows for someone, anyone, to care.


Thank you, I hope that it makes a difference, somehow, somewhere. I hope someone reads it and stops on their journey to change someone elses life... like ripples of effort that turn into waves of change, an so on.


Welcome back! I am very glad to see you here. Hope all is well, I will be over momentarily to check on you and the disreputables and YES, please come over the hill to visit soon! There will be snow this week.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Jon M said...

Moving post Scarlett. Poverty is on everyone's doorstep I guess.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

It is, Jon. We have to eliminate it altogether.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Baino said...

Lovely Scarlett if something so awesomely sad can be called so. Homelessness is sometimes a choice sometimes a predicament. I'll never forget during the Olympics in Sydney, we 'shafted' our homeless into refuges and charity dorms then released them back onto the street, back into the life they were destined to endure once the 'celebrations' were over. He looks like a young man with so much promise.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Hello Baino!


I'm sorry to say, Denver did the same thing to the homeless here during the Democratic National Convention.
We have GOT to change it; polishing it with a bandaid for show is NOT the way to change it.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore