We arrived at our usual overnight destination, the Walmart parking lot, also known as Camp Wally. We parked, went in, made our usual rounds to gather up groceries and bits, then asked permission to stay. It was rather odd that the parking lot was full of other RV’s at 2 in the afternoon but since a big storm was forecasted for the area, I assumed that was the reason; people don’t like being caught in torrential downpours on the freeway.
Nevertheless, we settle in for the night with some television, reading, texting to friends and family and a brief gaze out the window. What I saw, really to be honest, irritated me. Only because someone once said “to be homeless means you are without a house or shelter. Living in an RV does not make one homeless.” At the time, it made perfect sense and I agreed. This was not, however, my initial thought. My own definition of “homeless” was someone who was not in his or her own house or living quarters, who was dependent on others to shelter them. I guess, there is a similarity to my friend’s statement but yet different feelings about the term homeless were very different.
My short gaze landed on an older Class B (Van chassis with box living quarters) with a hand painted sign that said “Homeless – Family of 5” on it. My first verbal response was “how can you be homeless if you have an RV to live in” but my heart wasn’t truly in that statement. I really wanted to know what was going on with them but by the same token, knew it was none of my business. I am a nosey ol’ broad! At any rate, I went back to my TV show and didn’t give it another thought.
This morning, the family was still there. As I washed my dishes I looked out the window to see the dad sitting in the drivers seat looking dejected and depressed, I recalled a time in which I was in the same position with two small children; albeit, by poor choices and poor planning on our parts. I saw a broken out window in the back that I hadn’t noticed before and the little ones making up their bed with moms help. The more I watched, the more heart broken I became. THEN, I felt the nudge to do something. I stood there and rationalized my own feelings vs. the voice in my head (some would call this the Holy Spirit’s prompting and I am inclined to agree). The more I argued, the stronger the feeling became to do something. So, I abandoned my dishes and went to work. I sorted through our cupboards, loaded up my bags and left them on the table. Don was in the store so I was on my own… I prayed a hand of protection over my being as I sauntered over to the man and asked him if he minded if I shared some of our groceries with him. I think I shocked him… he just sat there with this bewildered look on his face and sputtered. Finally, he quieted and said, “I think that would be okay… I do appreciate your kindness” to which I replied, “You are so very welcome!”
As it turns out, they ARE homeless… and before you ask, NO I did NOT ask! LOL He wanted to show me something. He pulled out his little photo album and showed me pictures of an older Diesel pusher that he was hoping to get for a song. It needed work, but it was more livable than what they were in and it was all set up in a park in Oregon. I knew I liked this guy! He is also a Duck fan but his wife is a graduate of that OTHER school that hosts the Beavers. Oh, sorry, I have ADD. What did concern me, of course, was the cost associated with this rig, but again, none of my business.
At any rate, both are educated and lost their home to foreclosure when they lost their jobs – you know the story and it’s all too common. It is happening all around us and no matter ones good intentions or poor choices, it affects so many more than we realize.
I am glad that I obeyed that voice in my head and heart. It was a blessing to meet this family and it was an honor to serve them. They may not have a brick and stick house anymore, but they have each other, even if it is in a dilapidated old RV with broken out windows.
Don and I are so blessed. We have a home that is paid for; we have intact windows and have more than we will ever need. We also have one another, even if we do want to kill each other at times. Home is where you are with one another and those you care about the most.
Please, look around you and help someone in need. My advice though, follow that voice and it’s leading. Not only will you be the difference in someone else’s life you will be paying it forward and doing the right thing.