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Blog Posted in avatar   Robin Scott Dorf's Blog

Homelessness: How I Met James

By Robin Scott Dorf
Posted Aug 1, 2012 in Lifestyle
He walked up to me, his face marked with scars, his gaze filled with shame, and everything he owned in a back pack slung over his shoulder. I knew immediately that he was homeless, but he didn’t ask for money, he simply asked for a sandwich. As I smiled and gazed into his eyes and asked him what his favorite type of sandwich was, he began to cry. I listened to the horrors of his life as he shared each beating and mugging, while tracing each scar on his face. I realized that my words of comfort and hope in his strength to survive, combined with the sandwich I could offer to fill his empty stomach, felt inept and insufficient.
I held him while he cried, and kept repeating, “I believe in you, there is hope”. I shared with him my passion for my profession and the determination I have to bring the “forgotten and unloved” out of the dark. While my children watched, I took time to look James in the eye, LISTEN to his story, and hopefully I planted a tiny seed of hope.
At the time, I was struggling with my fear and despair over the loss of my family’s medical benefits and our ever worsening financial situation. Ironically, I realized as I held James in my arms that I know NOTHING of despair!!!
Where I go home to my 2000 square foot house, James finds a wall in the subway, out of the wind, to “sleep”. Where I have the love of my family and am never “alone”, James lives in forced solitude. Where I experience health and a full belly, James experiences hunger and pain; and where I still have HOPE for my future, James has tears and the distinction of being one of the “forgotten and unloved”.
As I started to walk away, James asked if he could come see me at work and if I would be able to help him. I gave him a sad smile as I explained that I was only in D.C. for a brief visit with friends and I lived in Northwest Arkansas. My heart broke again as the look of hope faded once more from his eyes. I removed a 7hills Homeless Center bracelet from my wrist and passed it to him with another quick hug.
As he slipped it on his wrist, I told him that it would serve as a reminder that “we” are out there, “we” believe in him, and “we” love, unconditionally.
Robin Scott Dorf
Purveyor of Words