Love, Kindness and Patience in Houston, Texas
It was another hot day in Houston, Texas and the homeless youth were lined up at the Drop-in Center run by Montrose Grace Place. The volunteers were there by 6:00 PM when the doors opened. Approximately 25 youth were being served. As usual, they were served a hearty meal as the volunteers sat amongst them to engage and create a loving and joyful atmosphere. After dinner they were taken two at time to the large closet area to select from a variety of items such as clothes, diapers, snacks and other necessities.
Simultaneously, an activity was also arranged where everyone could participate. This time it was an angelic and mesmerising woman from "Writers in the School" who inspired these young souls and opened their hearts and minds in such a jaw-dropping way that even the volunteers were left speechless. She did it through Poetry. She had a God-given gift of tapping into their inner beauty like no one else. Her expressions were matchless.
One homeless youth wrote a poem called "Being a Mom to my Brother" detailing the pain, and sacrifices she had to make to raise her younger brother with all the love of a mother, putting her own education and career aside. Another had philosophical points such as "are we just passing time or is time passing us?" and "is this our reality or just an aspect of the true reality". The workshop was optional but by the end of it, they were so mesmerised by her that most of them had a pen and paper in hand, writing their thoughts down to her simple very open ended questions. She had a soft and inviting presence. The love, kindness and patience she radiated was like that of Mother Mary!
The story of one particular homeless youth stood out the most. He is a relatively young boy who lives on the street but still tries to go to an engineering school dressed well. He finds a place to bathe and dress appropriately. When he was eight years old, he came home to find his father dead in the kitchen with a needle protruding out of his arm. He had overdosed on heroin after losing his job. He recalled the painful moment in detail, including his younger brother still crying in the crib upstairs when he entered the house. He became the rock and source of support for his mother and younger brother while he himself battled multiple hospital visits due to severe psychosis and being placed on multiple psychiatric medicines. Needless to say he was forced to mature very quickly in his life and essentially lost his entire childhood. After being able to make his brother stand on his own feet, he looked towards a new life and came to Houston with his fiancée. She in turn, left with all his money to be with somebody who was unknown to him. He felt cheated and defeated once again. But his strength and resilience continued to radiate from his eyes. A brave, brave soul indeed!
The soulful evening finally came to a close.... yet all the hearts remained open!