It is a rainy December evening, the longest night of the year. At least this year, it isn’t too cold. I’ve just walked back to the office after attending the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service at The Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown, CT. The church was full; many homeless people, and many friends of the homeless.
Earlier this week, a friend of mine died. He had a good job, a nice home, and loving family and friends. Many of my friends are grieving his death. It has put me in a solemn mood as I think about the homeless that have died over the past year without such blessings. I sit amidst the homeless people that have lost loved ones and listen to the speeches.
There are the proclamations and the descriptions of programs aimed at ended homelessness, yet there is more. There is a reminder of the recent power outage when many people found how difficult things can be when staying warm and getting food become challenges. There is the recognition of the role that domestic violence can play in people becoming homeless, and there is the sadness of lost love ones.
As I think of the homeless people that have died over the past year, the words of John Donne come to mind.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Another phrase comes to mind, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Many of us may be much closer to homelessness than we realize.
It is easy to end off on down note like this, but we all need to carry on with our lives, and if we are fortunate enough to have a job, to get back to work. I know the work that some of my friends at CHC will be doing. Tomorrow, they will return to their jobs, providing health care for the homeless, helping the victims of domestic violence and touching the lives of many who struggle to make it through the holiday season and the day to day struggles of life.
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright