Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pity or respect?

The trail I run on regularly passes under several bridges and a few overpasses.  Under one of these bridges, there is an individual who is often sleeping right up under the road.  I don't know if it's a male or female.  I usually just see the shape of a person under a blanket with suitcases and bags nearby.  I don't care to investigate further. (Seriously, Mom, it's fine.)

Anyhow, when I first passed this person, I admit I was a little creeped out.  I mean, I know I shouldn't judge someone who is clearly homeless, but it's hard not to.  The more times I encountered this area, the less I've worried.  He or she has never bothered me or anyone else, to my knowledge.  I'm sure he/she is harmless.

After I got past the fear,  I became curious about this person's life.  Why do they always seem to be sleeping during the day?  Are they then awake at night?  Maybe they work at night?  Where do they get food?

Finally, I most certainly felt pity.  What happened in their life that lead to this point?  Where are their family and friends?

It was all a bit of a gut check for me.  This person is surviving without many of the comforts I take for granted ---  a soft bed to sleep in, food in my fridge/cupboards, heat and air conditioning, running water, a good job, friends and family who would never let me sleep on the street.  Even when life isn't going well, I've never been without all of these things at once.  I don't know if I could survive without them. Hopefully I never have to know. Clearly, they are a stronger person than I am to get by on so little. 

So I can't decide if this homeless person deserves my pity or a little bit of my admiration. 


  1. I just saw a video today where 10 homeless people wrote down a random fact about themselves and even in one sentence you got a sense of their story. I always wonder how homeless people become homeless, like what happened. What confuses me the most though are the people who choose to be homeless.

  2. That's an interesting question. I think there have to be a lot of things going on in a person's life that led them to become homeless. I tend to have more pity than admiration, I admit. But I suppose the fact that they're still here, still surviving, and haven't given up on life is something to admire.

  3. I never really stopped to think about all those little details. I do feel pity for homeless people and I do what I can to help them, but I needed that reminder that we just take so many little things for granted every day. I think it's a mix of pity and admiration, and it's OK to feel both.


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