Wednesday, March 30, 2016

For All The Blue Tarps

Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times

Sometimes it's easy to walk by because we know we can't change someone's whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize it that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.” ― Mike Yankoski

My wife and I were recently in Los Angeles visiting our daughter's family. We had a great time visiting them and also with a few of my relatives. I will admit that Atlanta has a ways to go in the pure amount of traffic which exists in the Los Angeles area.

During our travels through out the L.A. area, we noticed a high level of what can only be termed homelessness. Current estimates as of February 2015 indicate over 44,000 homeless people in L.A. county alone.

The signs of this are the many blue tarp villages along and under overpasses of the freeways. But this is not confined to Los Angeles, every state, every country, every place on this great earth has homelessness.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

I get it, there are many reasons for homelessness in this world.

Poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, poor physical or mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, family and relationship breakdown including domestic violence, physical and/or sexual abuse. And yes, choice by some.

All of this said, we cannot individually solve this huge problem. It is something which cannot simply be ignored by driving faster down the freeway or looking the other way. It is an issue that can bring down society eventually. The cost either to ignore or treat the symptoms will require hard, tough and expensive choices. None of those costs am I here to debate.

What we can do though is not turn a blind eye.

We can offer a friendly smile, maybe a cup of coffee, a meal or some small chance of hope.

I can be ridiculed for the simple minded ideas but hope is something which can spark another day, another opportunity or another possibility in the eyes of someone facing homelessness, poverty or where a next meal might come from.

The human spirit is to have for and want compassion from others. If we can offer that spark, maybe we can ignite something greater. The something greater might just be the social, political or human solutions which turn someone's life around.

Stay inspired my friends!

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