Monday, October 31, 2011

LIFE, AND FAITH, AND HOMELESSNESS (with new details)

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I am a spiritual/religious person. You also know that I don't talk much about that in this blog.

But life, and faith, and challenge sometimes step up and smack me in the face, and well, I have to deal with that. I'm not one to evade life.

I noted recently that Occupy Saskatoon had been somehow "adopted" by a group of homeless people. They slept in our tents, and ate our food, and (when they were comfortable with it) joined in our discussions. It was never "we-they"; it was "us."

We had planned to end our occupation of Friendship Park this weekend. We had made our point, as far as the occupation had gone, and were moving to the next phase of our activity.

BUT!

What to do about the homeless living among us, eating our food, sleeping in our tents?

Well, no, we simply could not abandon them. They were part of the group; their issues, their concerns were among those which we were raising.

So after many days and nights discussions, we worked out a plan. All of us. Together.

Those who wanted and needed a relatively safe and comfortable place to stay will be staying. Those who stay will devise a process for living together, eating together, and the like. We who move away will continue to support them. As a group, we have money and other resources; that's part of the overall community make-up.

Where this goes next is a bit of a puzzle. The campers will work out their life one day at a time. Those who are not campers will offer what support they can. We are all in this together.

















This all reminded me of a story. A story about deep caring.

Then the King will say, . . . "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." . . . Then the righteous will answer him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?" And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." 
                 ~ Matthew 25: 34, 37 - 40.

OK. Here endeth the first reading.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends. Thanks for hanging in with me.


FOOTNOTE

I got a call from the police today. The Sergeant for this division, wanting to know what we'll be doing next, about those who are sleeping out in the park. Was I surprised by the call? Frankly, initially yes (didn't think they would be calling me), but on second thought, no. So we're having a chat with his boss, the Inspector ("Captain" for you Americans), on our turf tomorrow night. I have an entirely "not good" feeling about this development. And I'm not the only member of our group feels that way. But the police are being nice about this situation (a very Canadian way of doing things). It's a kind of, "Let's sort this out over tea, shall we?" invitation to chat. I like tea, but I'm thoroughly prepared to be "not amused."

I'll keep you posted. This gets to be more "fun" at every turn. Except I really do not feel like laughing.

26 comments:

The Blog Fodder said...

Walk the talk, Bear. That was always you.
See you in a few weeks.

Lydia said...

I am moved and impressed by what you have shared here. It is sweet, in the purest sense of the word. Makes me feel good, have hope, look forward to seeing where this all will lead us. Friendship Park is an appropriate name for the "us" who have lived there these days and nights, and the "us" who will continue living there supported by the "us" who continue to care.

Bless you all.

Elisabeth said...

Making do and sharing, Rob-Bear, great stuff in a life overcrowded with pain.

Kristy said...

I commend you and your group for supporting the needs of the homeless. Like an other commentor said you walk the talk.

Better is Possible said...

Yes it's 'us'. So glad to hear how your experience has resulted love in action. Blessings to you!

That corgi :) said...

Wonderful gesture to do to continue to feed/house the homeless that were part of your occupy movement. I do know God wants us to take care of the least, the lost, the last, homelessness definitely falls into that.

Our former church (we moved) started a rescue mission a few years ago to meet such needs, including transitional housing to get people off the streets, back employed, etc.

My son befriended a homeless person and he often had meals with us, spent the night occasionally. It was a sad day when we discovered he stole a mere few dollars from son's room (it could have only been him based on the circumstances). What was the sad thing was he wouldn't come clean and admit it, so we had to stop letting him stay there, however, when I knew that son would be seeing him, I always sent food and he would come around and we would feed him, just lost that trust of having him stay/sleep within our house.

I do admire all of your efforts.

betty

Amanda said...

it occurred to me that the point of this whole movement is to snap people out of their doldrums and make them aware that others in society are suffering.....and hopefully instill the need to care deeply about people. you have met action with intention and have done exactly that - taking the movement to a whole new level.

there is something so straightforward yet divinely powerful in what you are doing for these folks, rob. i am deeply moved by it.

rosaria said...

This is wonderful community, Bear. It restores our faith in humans.

ReformingGeek said...

That's impressive, Rob-Bear. I love it when people can work together to accomplish something!

Wait. Is the park free of bears?

Rob-bear said...

® BF: Thanks for your kindness.

® Lydia: Latest development — got a call from the police. They wanted to know what's up. We've invited the Inspector (Captain) to have a chat with us tomorrow night. I have a "not good" feeling about this.
Thanks for the response.

® Elizabeth: Most of us are about one disaster away from being homeless. Not a happy thought.
Thanks for your observation.

Rob-bear said...

® Kristy: Some days things present themselves, and one has to do the best one can.
Thanks.

® Better is Possible: Thanks. I firmly believe that better is possible. Getting from "possible" to "actual" can be a bit challenging. We're still working on it.

® Corgi: Thanks for your support, and for sharing your story.
We don't win them all, but we try every time.

Rob-bear said...

® Amanda: Yes, we're trying to do some good "educational" work here, Amanda. Not sure what success we will have.
One thought, though. We're not doing anything "for" anyone; we're doing it "with" them. Profound difference of thinking, for me.

® Rosaria: If we all do what we can, things may get better, and sometimes they even do.
Thanks.

® Reforming Geek: People, if they want to, can find ways of working together. And great thing can happen.
Thanks.

Amanda said...

thanks for setting me straight on the 'with' and not 'for' aspect of what you are doing. profound difference indeed and it should be noted.

i will be following how things develop between your group and the police with great interest. the fact that they asked you what will you be doing about the folks sleeping in the park is quite unexpected right off the bat. i don't think police around here would ask us anything - they would just step in and take matters into their own hands. keep us posted r-bear as things get curioser and curioser.

Rob-bear said...

® Amanda: As I mentioned, this is all very Canadian of them. And immensely practical, considering their position. Why engage in nasty stuff when we, together, can work out a solution which truly serves all.
But it has to work towards everyone's benefit before there will be any happy action, at least on our part.

Snowbrush said...

I look forward to your next installment.

Nancy said...

This is absolutely amazing. The care and consideration of the homeless people by those involved in the protest is what this whole thing is all about. Wow. I am so impressed.

Exmoorjane said...

How would it feel not to have a home? No omphalos, no centre to our world? Good on you, Bear... xxxx

The Golden Eagle said...

Do keep us posted!

I hope things with the police didn't work out too badly . . .

Diana said...

I think it's wonderful what everyone did Bear. Even if it's just a start. I hope something productive comes from the meeting. Love Di ♥

About Last Weekend said...

Wow, I really admire you for getting so very involved. it's not just a couple of days thing for you but a real commitment - good on you. Will be interested to see how your meeting goes.

Rubye Jack said...

At first it seemed such a simple solution to such a complicated problem. It just seems to me that with people not having homes and sleeping outside in the cold that there would be more mercy for them.

You've been doing such a right-on job Bear!!!

Lins' lleisio said...

True community spirit... you give me hope for the human race. Blessings.

Recovering Church Lady said...

That is a beautiful thing to read Bear. I hope the police and your group can find a way that works for everyone.

Rob-bear said...

Hi, friends. I'm sorry I'm so late in responding to my correspondence. I've been a bit occupied, so to speak.

® Snowbrush: I hope the instalments have been interesting. Thanks for your interest.

® Nancy: Thanks very much. The interesting thing is that once we started doing things, it seemed so natural.

® Exmoor Jane: Thanks. Yes, hard to envision being without a home.

Rob-bear said...

® Golden Eagle: Thanks. As long as we keep talking about what's going on, we seem to be making progress.

® Diana: Thanks. As Yogi said, "It ain't over til it's over," and this is a long way from being over.

® About Last Weekend: Thanks, Jody. We keep working on it.

® Rubeye Jack: Thanks. It is simple, but it is deceivingly complex in its simplicity. (Sorry to confuse you.)

Rob-bear said...

® Lins' lleisio: Thanks Lindsay. We keep trying, without being too trying.

® Recovering Church Lady: Thanks Ms. Susie. We get by with a little help from our friends — even the police.