Newton's Law and the Condition of Homelessness

Many times the road we must walk in order to help someone is winding and longer than we thought. Sometimes we find ourselves doing something that doesn't seem like it would be part of the job description.

Almost six months ago one of our regular volunteers, Peter, noticed a woman who was always quietly sitting in a chair in the day room outside our office door. She would always ask for M &M's when he walked around the Resource Center giving out candy. He saw her every week and they exchanged smiles whenever he came to the office. Eventually they struck up a brief conversation. Soon he would spend some time chatting when he saw her. He'd pull up a chair and plop down beside her, invited or not. Carol suffers from some mental deficiencies and was not very talkative at first, but time earned her trust. Our volunteer learned that Carol holds a 2-year degree and is a widow. He also learned that Carol used to have an Arizona Driver's License but lost it several years ago. She has been living on the streets rather than in a shelter fighting her 'sight unseen' demons alone. Her distrustful nature made reaching into her delusions difficult and time consuming.

Slowly, over six months, Peter was able to build a tenuous friendship with Carol. Largely unprompted, she finally decided to come in to see us rather than watch from her chair in the day room. What a joy when she told him that she had put her name on the list to see us. The Chaplaincy was able to spend some time with Carol and assist her in replacing her Arizona identification. Building trust with her was step one. Replacing her Arizona identification was step two. Guiding her to services, which will help her get off the street, is step three. Being alone on the streets is no place for a lady in her mid-fifties.

This was huge for her! What a breakthrough! It is our hope that Carol continues on her positive, forward moving path.

Newton's first law of motion:

An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force

It is my opinion that Newton's law applies to many of those stuck in the limbo of homelessness. Many times they just need a gentle push. That gentle push may be a 6-month trust building exercise, it may be a smile, or it may be a kind word.

Who can you help move forward in a healthy, positive direction today?