Thursday, January 28, 2010

God's Blanket

I went into San Francisco yesterday for lunch with a friend. There was a homeless man sitting in a doorway in the sun, smiling and looking at peace with the world. When our eyes met, I smiled at him and said "Nice to see the sun after all the rain." He responded "The sun is God's blanket for poor people. We do drugs all night, but when the sun comes out, we can sleep." I expected a follow up request for change, but it didn't come.

Walking on ahead to meet my friend at the restaurant, I thought about what the man said for a moment. He does drugs all night and waits for the sun so he can sleep. What a strange way to live.

Tomorrow's forecast is for more rain. The homeless will have to do without the blanket.


  1. People find happiness in different ways. For him it was being blanketed with the sun. Simple gifts for a hard life.

  2. You know, I saw some honor in this man and I felt some respect for him. A hard life indeed. So many stories out there!

  3. A philosopher... I bet he would have some interesting tales to tell. When I see someone like that, I never fail to say to myself, "But for the grace of God go I."

  4. Linda, this was a touching post. WHERE have all the homeless come from? I hate to think of going back to the years of institutions, but I also hate to see the rampant homeless problem in all our major cities. I do believe if given the choice another way of living would be preferable. So sad.

  5. Alyssa, my husband and I were talking about this just a few minutes ago. When I was part of the "working Poor" during the Reagan era, I had two small children. Under President Reagan, the doors to the institutions were thrown open and the mentally ill were put out on the street. Subsidized childcare for low income people was also cut, as were after school programs. It may have been a better day for the fat cats, but it was a bad day for the poor and the mentally incompentent. Still, nobody seems to know what to so with the homeless. It's sad and frustrating. Programs have not worked. I don't know what the answer is!

  6. Yes, Reagan's administration did great harm to the mentally ill population in this country, a population that increased greatly with a glut of PTSD diagnoses from the Vietnam and Gulf War(s). These lost souls are self-medicating with illegal drugs.

    It's a vicious circle. If the homeless population chose to stay clean and sober, they could gain access to homeless shelters and other programs set up to help them.

    Yet, how can they choose sobriety when they're not in their right mind to begin with?

    It's a sorry situation, especially because we are the global "fat cat" country. Seems our charity should begain at home, as the saying goes, but that opens up another can of worms...