Heavy rain fell for most of the night. More is promised this afternoon and throughout the night. The rain causes the leaves to fall…and then entered winter. I just received my Liz Climo stuffed Bear. Liz is a wonderful cartoonist. Her characters are animals. My Bear is in many of her daily comic panels. By the way…I love stuffed Teddy Bears and other bears. I have several. From time to time a child will visit MJ and me… and I will give them one of my Bear Collection…and then purchase more. I am a kid at heart…

I was meditating regarding how some people in our country become wealthy or at least comfortable…while others seem to never be able to access the levers of finance or the ‘Good Old Boys Club’…and thus struggle to house and feed themself or live in poverty and want for the course of their lives.

Lonely is the best word to describe millions of humanity. I witnessed it most days during my over a 32-year career at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. Many students had been raised in dysfunctional homes. Many without the benefit of both father and mother in the home. Many have never become acquainted with their parents. Many were a bit lost when it came to social interaction and integrating it with the stress of academic success. Mental health needs are staggeringly high in the University student population.

Life is a complex array of choices and little advice as to which one is best for you. We old folks enjoy ruminating on our great choices in life and the ease in which we made them…’ hindsight is 20-20…’ The truth is that we all had to consult our inner compass on numerous occasions…and we all made wrong choices almost as often as we made right ones. I have searched…but I can not find an operations manual to secure a good and happy life. A few bedrock principles prevail. Love others daily. Stay on track. Work hard. Believe in something that is greater than yourself.

We all become lost…at times. Life reversals such as job loss or death of a loved one…divorce or domestic strife…even moving to a new home and creating that all-thumbs feeling… Each of us needs a friend and a neighbor who can act as a sounding board for our struggles and directional needs. For Christians, the church has a vital role to play in providing directions to the lost. The calming comfort of a kind face and a listening ear and a non-judgmental person…is like, ‘Apples of gold in pictures of silver.’

I have been lost in various cities on many occasions. I was lost in Chicago, Illinois so badly that when I passed an exit that said interstate #57…I truly considered taking it and driving back to Carbondale in Southern Illinois…300 miles from Chicago. Have you ever been lost in the woods? All of the trees look alike and seem to be looking down on you and asking…’What are you doing here…?’ Being lost is a truly gut-wrenching and frightening and lonely experience. When I was hopelessly lost in Chicago…a friendly woman at a convenience store told me that if she did not have to hurry home that she would lead me to my destination…as she was originally from the south as well…Georgia…

Homelessness and poverty and hunger…is a social failure and the turning of our backs on our brothers and sisters…who are lost.

Lost is your painful reality…when your friends have full stomachs and brag about what they had for dinner…while you have no food…and are hungry…and work 40 hours per week…

3 responses

  1. Here’s hoping more bears find a home x

  2. You are right in much of what you say, take Scotland, (supposedly) the sixth richest country in the world, yet 1/3 of children live in poverty. we are cursed with food banks, school uniform banks, fuel poverty where people can no longer afford to heat their homes. but we should not fall into the trap of “One size fits all”. When I was involved in running a soup kitchen for the homeless, one lesson came over very strong, there were people out there who would not have thanked you if you gave them a house and all the trapping of modern society – not if they had to conform to the drudgery of some 9 till 5 job. There are also many like “Ferdinand the bull”, in our society. They are different and that too must be respected. Yes, poverty in all its forms is a failure in our society but we must not use a sledgehammer to crack this walnut. Centralised government, regional, arms-length, councils making decisions that should be taken locally, handing out contracts – rather than hands-on – these organisations have become managers rather than local authorities. we must start at the root causes of poverty, not trying to treat the symptoms stemming from poverty.

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