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Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Basket Full of Wishes

One of my favorite antique shops on Facebook, Atelier de Campagne was showing a very beautiful champagne basket on Facebook and was asking if we had that basket what would we fill it would have been so easy to list all my favorite material things and dream of how great it would be to receive a basket full of these things but that wasn't my first thought.

If I could have filled that basket, it would have been not for material items but for the dreams of so many children and families right now who are struggling to find the money to purchase just the basics for their families. To fill a basket with wishes of the thoughts that no child would ever go hungry, that all children would have warm clothing and the necessary school items to give them a proper education, that the homeless would all have a home, that there would be jobs and equality for the millions of middle class, poor, and disenfranchised people who are unemployed and that we as a people would come together for the common good of all people who are suffering at the expense of the gridlock in Washington.

One of the very first posts I wrote when I opened my blog was an article on the homeless and the encounter I had with one such person. It left me speechless, and to this day, I have not forgotten the look on this man's face. Because Christmas is a time of sharing and hopefully doing for others less fortunate I wanted to share this story once again with my "peeps" in the hopes that we won't forget the people who for one reason or another have lost their way and find themselves in a situation that they never in a million years thought would happen to them.

The Sad Plight of the Homeless:

We were out running around yesterday and had stopped at a Redbox to pick up a movie when I saw a young man who was homeless, wearing what looked like two pair of pants, one on top of the other. The second pair was faded, ripped, and so thin that you could hardly see much of the original pants. He had dreadlocks and there were leaves and debris covering the back of his head. The soles of his shoes no longer connected to his tops and flapped as he walked. He was headed for the trash can directly at an angle from where I was sitting in the car. He turned to see if anyone was looking and pulled out a pizza box. He opened it up and took out what looked to be a piece of the crust and pushed the box back into the can. As he walked away he kept turning around looking...Looking at me. I suppose to see if I was looking at him?

When my husband returned with the movie and we started on our way to the grocery, I suddenly was struck with the notion to go back to see if he was still there to give him some money. We didn't have much on us ( the use of debit cards have all but erased the idea of carrying cash) but I thought maybe he could use what little we had to purchase something to eat or drink. When we drove back around I saw him sitting on the edge of the curb drinking an orange crush with two packages of cheese crackers laying next to his drink. We stopped the car and I rolled down my window looking at him. His eyes were devoid of any expression...blank and lifeless and suddenly I was overcome with such sorrow and pain that I thought this must me how God feels when he looks into the eyes of one of his children who is suffering. I asked him to take the money for coffee or food but he shook his head no. After urging him to take it three times he looked at me, thanked me but said no. Not wanting to bother him any further we left.

I don't believe I have ever been so saddened by what I saw. His eyes still haunt me when I think of him. I keep asking myself why he refused the money? If, as most people think, that it is not a good idea to give homeless people money and if he was an addict of drugs or alcohol why didn't he accept the money? I still believe that, regardless of the circumstances that bring people to the streets, they still have some pride and dignity. That no one can feel the sense of failure, the desolation, or the hopelessness in their spirit.

I was trying to find a picture of the homeless to attach to this post but instead thought these words might be more fitting than a photo: " Homeless people are spirits sent from heaven to test our true character". So, the next time you see a homeless person seeking shelter, or looking for food in trash cans and you walk right past them without so much as a look ask yourself this: What makes me think that this couldn't be me?


  1. you have such a kind and big heart Kris..
    it is so hard on everyone when there are homeless people..I used to be a case manager for a rural homelessness program in my area of Michigan...
    it seems that the ones who truly need help are the ones less likely to accept it...mental illness is usually the reason for homelessness and substance abuse goes hand in hand with mental illness....
    sometimes you are able to help but most often not...just know that homeless people are not without their guardian angels...

  2. I am in India and only between my house and my workplace, which are only 10 minutes apart from each other, I see close to half a dozen homeless people. I see them everyday and each day I am heartbroken, I am ashamed, I am embarrassed that I can't do much and I am saddened. Most accept money but my brother and I prefer to hand them food packets or sometimes a lot of coins. There're kids too on the street. This Christmas I am giving them crayon sets and other art supplies... Ideally I should give them food but I figured that they are more hungry for happiness in life than food. Art makes me happy and I wish it gives them a happy moment too. I handed a set of crayons the other evening to a little child at the traffic lights who tried to sell me a box of cotton buds... one of the ways street children are used. I didn't buy his cotton buds but gave him the crayons instead. He immediately abandoned his sales pursuits and sat down on the divider of a road, putting his new crayons to work, he scribbled away hungrily. I am sure he was happy for a bit.

    Close to my house is a young homeless man, very much like the one you described in this post. His eyes and his face are just as you described, painfully sad. He doesn't accept money from me, neither food, nor fruits, nor cigarettes, nor clothes, nothing. He walks away when he sees me approach him with something in my hands ~ he figures those are for him. I want to do everything I can to help him but he doesn't allow me into his world. It makes me very sad. But I am not giving up on him. I decided I won't make him uncomfortable by offering him stuff but I surely won't stop looking for him, praying for him and making myself available should he ever need help.

    I am happy to read your post and happy to realize that there are people in the world (though far away) who feel exactly as I do. Not many of my friends like to talk about the homeless, I don't know why but it's a truth I can't really ignore. It gives me sleepless nights sometimes and makes me ashamed of myself for not doing anything about it. I wish I wasn't so weak a person.


  3. This is the time of year when we need to think most about people who are homeless sleeping on freezing streets, we rush around at Christmas so caught up in our busy lives. I think there is a real need for some properly organised collective effort on behalf of such people especially at a time when we give so much to those who already have everything. I know there are existing charities but it obviously isn't enough.

    I have seen the blank lifeless stare you describe, it is usually a sign of clinical depression, as if having no home and no one to care for you isn't enough. Suffering indeed.

  4. it’s heart breaking... i love the idea of yoru basket full of wishes, i’d make them available all year around.Wish i had a magic wand.
    xo sandra

  5. Kris, your post is an excellent reminder that Christmas is a time to remember what Jesus' message love one another. To ease the pain and suffering of our fellow human beings is such a noble endeavor.


  6. I'd want to fill that basket with wishes too. We are so wrapped up in our own lives that we no longer see what is happening in front of us nor around us.


  7. This is a very contemplative post.

    Warm wishes!

  8. Powerful post and a good reminder in Christmas time that not everyone are so lucky.


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