Paws and Ponder
"Selah" a biblical term that shows up 74 times in the bible, 71 of those in Psalms. Though the Hebrew term doesn't have a formal definition it is thought to mean a musical pause; take a breath, stop and exhalt the one you are prasinging or singing about.
When we moved to the ranch only a year ago we were in need of a place to take pause. Our trauma weary children needed a safe place to just breath. We drove onto our property and knew we were "home".
This week I met a "homeless" woman, "Melanie"( name changed).
She was in the alley behind our thrift store looking in dumpsters for cardboard. I immediately sent my husband, Dale out to talk to her. He had met her earlier in the week and had already started a conversation. She was in need of a barrier between the cement and her blankets, hence the cardboard. Dale bought her an army cot we had for sale at the thrift store and invited her to dinner at Koinonia kitchen that night. I saw her sitting alone in the booth that night and made a choice to step outside my bubble ( I take care of children and dogs) to sit and eat a meal "with" her.
Again being used to taking care of children and in my very direct fashion I asked, "tell me your story". As I listened to her I was taken aback that she has a family. Adult children and a brother who live close and who she could move in with. Forgetting we all have a past, my next stupid comment was, "why are you on the streets then?" Thank goodness she gave me grace; didn't stand up and walk away. She quite simply explained she didn't want to intrude on her bio-family and she has a family on the streets. "You see", she said, " It's not so simple, a lot of my friends are addicted to drugs, have no way to get food, clothes, are cold and are in need of my help".
After I gulped back my preconceived ideas of those who are homelessness, remembering we ALL have fallen short, I sat back and thought she is no different then me!! Taking care of those who are in need of rest, a home, a "Selah".
Once I gathered myself I leapt action. The one thing Dale and I are good at is "boots on the ground action". Asking appropriate questions she gave me an overview of the immediate needs our small community is desperately lacking.
Florence, Colorado offers no basic services other than the ones we sponsor to anyone on the streets. It lacks job opportunities, addiction counseling, clothing vouchers, transportation, showers, cots or warm sleeping shelters or even a "place" to find out where those resources are. The closest town Canon City, though only 15 minutes away, with no transportation vouchers there is no way to "get there". The town library and small food pantry offer a once a month food box and renewal of SNAP and food stamps . Dale and I are NOW working strategically to come up with a real action plan to introduce to the homeless coalition in Canon City to at least bring a resource center to Florence. This basic center should be available in every community.
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