Helping my Grandfather
By John Hagan
During the final two years of my grandfather’s life, he was too sick to go shopping.
It was easy for me to help my Grandfather. I was able to do some grocery shopping, cash his monthly social security check, and help with household matters. I prepared food that was easy for him to heat up later, I set up his TV / VCR, vacuumed the rug and mopped floors.
At the time I thought it was a hassle, but as the years roll by, I learned to appreciate that I was able to help my Grandfather during his final years.
I gave my Grandfather security and comfort, especially during the holiday seasons. The holidays can be very lonely. My Grandfather knew I was going to be there for him and he would not be lonely during the holiday seasons.
Home Without the House
By Brenda McKinstry
Finally, as many people know, I do have a physical home. But until that happy event, I found the security, warmth, love and acceptance that people crave (and the word “home” implies) through my work, and the friends that I met there.
Interestingly, after I have been sick and returned to work, many of my customers greeted me with some variation on “welcome home.” The point being the word “home” was always used.
Through my work I met my lady friend for whom I provide a sense of “home.”
I do my friend’s shopping and light housework for her once a week. She appreciates my help, but as she told me, the thing she appreciates most is spending time with me. We joke, make tea and muffins and I help her with personal chores. I am also in touch with her throughout the week. I know I am her security and knowing this makes me want to be there for her.
“Home” is not just four walls; it also comes from the people with whom we surround ourselves.
Miraculous Snow, Peace at the Shrine
By James Metzgar
At the end of November I went to the shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, near St. Louis, in Belleville, Illinois.
I have gone to the shrine many times over the past 30 years. I enjoy going there because it gives me a spiritual uplift and a sense of peace. I enjoyed a great buffet dinner at the shrine where I broke bread with many other people.
There are many Christmas decorations around the shrine including what is called the Way of Lights: nighttime illumination of Nativity scenes, wise men on camels, and angels with trumpets. The beauty of the shrine was enhanced because there was a snowstorm while I was there this year. For the first time in all my visits to the shrine, I saw the shrine of Our Lady of Snows under a blanket of snow.
Coincidentally, there is an Our Lady of the Snows shrine in Chicago and I recently attended Sunday mass there. Another coincidence is that a light snow was falling on that day also.
At the church here and at the shrine, there is a beautiful stained glass window showing the Aurora Borealis.
The devotion of Our Lady of the Snows is based on the legend of a miraculous summer snowfall on a hill in Rome. The summer snow was interpreted as a sign to show where the first church dedicated to the mother of Jesus was to be built.
For the Good of the World
By Arnold Donaldson
When I see panhandlers on the street, I try to provide whatever I can for these people. I share what I have so I can provide some feeling of comfort, of “home” for these people, who live outside of a home.
Sometimes people who are helping other people ask, “What are you going to do with this money?” When I offer help, I hope they will do the right thing with what I give them, but I leave it up to them to do what is right. I lived on the street for 20 years myself, so I understand how hard it is, and I do not look down on people who are homeless.
I was blessed, so I want to be a blessing by helping other people. I read in a book that, “we pay our rent on this earth by helping other people.” We are social creatures and we must help each other.
I would like to be a philanthropist for the good of the world.
Home is Where the Heart is and What the Heart Does
By A. Allen
When the StreetWise Writers group facilitator asked us to write about what “home” means to us, my mind went to the passing away of my friend whom I called Charlie Brown. Charlie passed away from hypothermia on the morning of November 20, 2014. He had been homeless and sleeping on the streets for a while.
I found it hard to focus on the topic of what a home means. Instead my mind went to homelessness and the ultimate price one can pay. My friend Charlie Brown paid with his life. Our teacher suggested I try to incorporate Charlie into my essay.
After thinking long and hard I remembered some of my encounters with Charlie. I remembered running in the mornings with Back On My Feet volunteer Dave M. We would often pass the spot where Charlie and his girlfriend slept outside. Some mornings they would be uncovered. There were blankets near them, but not always over them. We would stop our running and take a little time to cover them up with whatever we found around them. A warm feeling came over us when we stopped and took the time to make sure Charlie Brown and his girlfriend were covered and warm.
When I passed their spot on East Chicago Avenue on November 19 2014, I witnessed Charlie Brown standing up and covering his girlfriend with the blankets. The next morning is the day that he died from hypothermia.
When I think about Charlie Brown covering his girlfriend with the covers he had, I feel warmth, like the warmth we associate with a place called “home.” There may be snow outside and on the roof of a house, but the feeling of “home” is a warmth comes from the love and compassion we can find in people.
You too, can be a covering, a refuge, a home for others. We can find comfort and security and a home in doing kind things for others.