Were you one of the four million Texans without power during our winter storm?
For greater than 72 hours indoor temperatures in homes without heat dropped below 48 degrees. Highways and bridges iced over and were unpassable. People had to cope with nonexistent toilet facilities as seven million lost water supply. Convention centers and churches opened their doors to the homeless, even without power, they provided shelter, beds, blankets, and food. When weather improved, frozen water pipes thawed and busted, spewing water into bedrooms, and living spaces adding falling, soggy ceilings to the relentless cold indoors. Drinking water either had to be boiled or bought. It was a week for the history books. Thankfully, my home had gas heat. But I could identify with those who didn’t. The first weekend of December 2020, I experienced the most miserable, coldest night my 69 years can ever remember.
I had gathered with my sisters for a weekend in the hill country.
One of my sisters has a cabin with running water and electricity. A great little getaway furnished with appliances, a card table, and chairs, and heated by an electric fireplace. We unloaded the snacks and bedding, with PJ’s and toiletries tucked into pillowcases with our pillows, deciding we didn’t need the rest of our bags and belongings until morning. With air mattresses on the floor in front of the fireplace, we stayed up late, talking, snacking, and laughing.
I awoke in the early morning hours shivering.
The fireplace was off and my single blanket and PJs didn’t provide the needed warmth. I stumbled around in the dark and found the nursing scrubs I’d worn the day before, and put them on over my pajamas for another layer. Still cold, I put on my socks, shoes and jacket, and even draped my scarf around my waist. I curled up under the blanket and laid the pillow over me.
I lay there not wanting to wake my sisters and thought of the poor homeless community. Even with every piece of clothing I could find, l shivered until my teeth chattered. Yet, I wasn’t even close to feeling the cold like the homeless who’s only shelter from the wind might be cardboard boxes. And the air mattress I slept on had to be better than the layers of old newspapers spread over the cold, hard concrete, or damp grass they laid on. Tearfully, I prayed for God to forgive my complaining and to comfort those who were worse off than me. It was good for me to feel the reality of hardship.
The next morning, we moved to my sister’s house where it was warm. We cooked, baked, played cards, worked a puzzle, and watched a movie. It turned out to be a great weekend despite the climate. However, it took me several days to warm up even after a hot bath, my bones were still cold. I have a new appreciation for what the homeless community suffers in the winter. And their hardship is not just seasonal.
We take our daily blessings for granted.
The last few years, some courageous youth at our church have attended a summer camp with a ministry to the homeless who live under a bridge. The youth and their sponsors leave their electronics behind, going off the grid to live under the bridge as well. No baths or amenities for a week and the food they eat is from the local shelter (which is ran by the ministry). In preparation, they are given a choice of the limited items they can take.
Which three items would you choose: A blanket? Paper? Hairbrush? Socks? Toothpaste? Toothbrush? Pen? Pencil? A pillow? A sweater? Bible? One hair tie? A Crank Flashlight? A Spoon? Cup? Knife? or Fork? Soap? Remember only THREE.
In hard times, we pray for those with busted pipes, no water, heat, or electricity, but let’s keep in prayer the homeless who live year round without these luxuries.
Have you ever experienced a homeless situation?
We’d love to hear about it. Leave your story in the comments section or e-mail me and I will post it for you.
Remember, wherever you are, you are at the right place when you come to my website and read my blog. Come on back and share a slice of life with me.