Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold Week

It has been so cold outside. The last few days the high temperature has been -8F. Tomorrow, I hear, it's supposed to warm up to 20F Above! Yeah, us Northerners, when a cold spell breaks and temperatures rise above zero, we call it "Above". Yesterday my preschooler's school was canceled because of the cold. I felt so bad for her because she really wanted to go. We had a difficult morning because of it. Last night, when the wind chill was -25F (aka cold beyond comprehension), places were already announcing closures for today.

As I was falling asleep last night, I kept thinking about the homeless in Milwaukee. We live close to Milwaukee and regularly give to the shelters and food pantries in the city. I kept thinking about how on the news today and for the next few days, reports are going to be trickling in about how many of the homeless have died due to exposure overnight. And then there are the reports about how the shelters are filled to capacity and had to turn people away. How the fire stations and other public buildings had to open their basements to house the homeless for the night on makeshift cots in giant rooms all lined up. It makes me feel sick. As a mother, homelessness is an issue very close to me. I've never been homeless, and I've never known someone who was homeless in a traditional sense. Still, though, my heart aches. For as judgmental a person I can be, I can't help but feel compassion for people who just need a little help. To me, it doesn't matter what caused a person to become homeless in the first place. What matters is to help them in their current situation.

You've heard the cliche before: "it's not a hand-out, but a hand-up". To me, we were all created equal. Every single person in the world is capable of the same feelings. Everyone breathes the same air. We're all the same in God's eyes, whether we have a million dollars or absolutely nothing.

So take a moment and consider how truly blessed you are. You are warm and comfortable, well-fed, and you even have time to read this little blog. You are fortunate.

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