When you think of homelessness, immediately the thought of great loss comes to mind. But have you ever thought beyond just the loss of a place to sleep at night, loss of clothes and shoes, loss of a kitchen to prepare a meal? If you consider this situation more deeply, suddenly you are thinking about why there is no family to help when someone no longer has a home to call his or her own. You begin asking what is wrong with this family, why don’t they care about this person? Well, for some who enter shelters no family may exist, but for most, losing their families is their biggest loss, not their homes or clothes or kitchens.
Issues such as substance abuse, alcoholism, mental illness and physical disability cause precious souls to become co-dependant, depressed, and selfish, overextending the ability of families to continue to help or express love for them.
Grady was in a similar situation, drinking too much at the age of 65. None of his family members were willing to deal with him anymore; he even had other shelters refusing to take him in. Grady felt disowned by his family simply because they had told him exactly that. In fact, his family didn’t want anything to do with him and they hadn’t in years.
Although this is a tragic loss, in order for a core family to survive, they just cannot or should not continue to care for a relative who has become overwhelmingly burdensome. At the Center of Hope, we reach out to attract anyone in need of shelter and many times individuals just like this, with no further bridges to cross, enter our door.
When Grady reached the Center of Hope, as the Lord would have it, he was assigned to meet with a case manager who is one of the best at adeptly turning the lives of alcoholics to the way of recovery and reconciliation. Let’s just say, being her client is no walk in the park. She is able to maintain her clients’ interest so that they remain engaged in seeking sobriety and don’t give up, even if they’ve already turned 65. She knows that Grady, and many others like him, have taken the devil’s hand for convenient consolation and had that first drink after repeated phases of sobriety. Most importantly, she knows there is a far greater and stronger hand that Grady can hold. With guidance, Grady began attending daily AA meetings. As the Center of Hope team demonstrates daily, God will reach out through willing staff to hold hands with people, to snatch away the devil’s embrace. And as in Grady’s example, they also know how to reconcile an individual with their family. Grady has a home now, and his children have returned to his life, each willing to re-build their relationship with him.
Sometimes people think it is too late, sometimes they think there are no more chances and sometimes they are no longer extending their own hand for help. There is One who reaches out and with all the strength beyond the world, takes ours and we are helped, despite ourselves.
Article submitted by Center of Hope staff member Samantha Messick