We made the first page on the Moose Jaw Times Herald!! Unfortunately, it was reported that I was staying two nights rather than the three but MJTH did give good coverage. We are thankful to them for that. Last night was the coldest night as far as temperature is concerned. It was much more damp and I found myself sleeping with my head under the covers. As with the previous two nights I was snug and warm and slept well. There was more noise from the bar and the trains were busy. I awoke this morning with damp covers. I was dry but the surface of my bedding was damp. This morning after breakfast some of us went up and took down my cardboard condo. There was an emotional twinge as I watched my shelter being flattened and put in the recycle bin. As we were taking it down I noticed that the cardboard was not as rigid as it was Tuesday.
So, what did I learn from this experience? I will reflect on it for days to come and new thoughts will come to me through those reflections. For the immediate, these are the issues that come to mind. I believe that vulnerability is a big issue for the homeless. They are subject to the weather and need to adapt to any changes that might occur. They are at risk of intruders. I pulled my ladder up each night to eliminate the possibility of any unwanted visits. People living in the park, under a bridge or even in a vehicle will have a more difficult task warding off any unwanted attention and potential harm or loss. I wonder how quickly despair would overcome a person having no place to go, not seeing any hope of change in sight. Privacy came to my attention. As I got out of my shelter I could see all around. I don’t know how well seen I was when standing on the roof but I felt everyone could see me. I had the comfort of access to a bathroom for toileting and changing clothing. This morning I woke up feeling hungry and within the hour had access to something warm to eat. I also had access to a shower so my being near someone else did not bring offense; at least due to odor! My experience brought me kind words and encouragement (remember, I made the front page!). No one wondered when I would quit being a bum and get a job. No one avoided me for fear that I might steal or pass on some weird disease.
My experience drives me to seek better ways to serve our less fortunate helping them no longer be “less fortunate.” The start of this may be in showing a little more compassion, in being willing to offer an act of kindness to demonstrate the love that Jesus so readily gave to the less fortunate he met. This is the start, not the end.