I can’t buy sodas, and I’m low on smokes, but I’m full of hope.
Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness. Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream. I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.
Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.” Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.
- Fear of the unknown. See From my diary: Learning to pray.
- Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am. In particular, at the shelter in recent months have been several guys who just “came home” from doing “hard time,” and within days had found jobs.
- Times of despair. I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen. The question isn’t whether I fall down, but whether I’ll get back up. A moment of despair doesn’t rule out faith long-term. It can be OK for me to lie there and have a little pity party, as long as it’s reasonably brief.
- Incidents of utter selfishness. (I may rename this if I think of a better name.) Several weeks ago after church, I became impatient waiting for the person who had promised me a ride downtown, and waiting also for my principal patron, who was tied up in conversation with others. I became disgusted with myself over feeling that way; and disgusted that I was hanging out there long after I would otherwise have left, having feelings all about obtaining favors for me, me, me.
That’s not a pretty way to end this just now, but in the long run I do think I need to be candid in admitting what it takes to climb one’s way out of poverty.
on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger
My first piece published on Yahoo! Voices:
Please disseminate as widely as possible!
A week ago today I had a highly successful interview at a dollar store. There may be one obstacle that, if it’s there, cannot be overcome; but if it’s not there, I’ll have to take a drug test and go for a second interview at which the actual job offer will be made. In the days since, there have been some communications glitches. Meanwhile, time goes on.
This morning in my last five minutes at Lenny’s, I prayed about this, reflecting on (1) my disappointment to have had no word so far and (2) the path by which I got here.
I just completed a two-month “job readiness” program … not as if I needed any program to make me “ready” for a job, but this one is unique in that while one is taking classes, they have scouts hunting down specific job opportunities that well match each candidate. That is the big factor I see missing for most people in the big picture.
Was the class a waste of time? Continue reading