On Being Sick and Having a Home
I have been sick for the last two days, and it has thrown off my schedule. I have had to postpone some plans and set aside some work, but I was reminded today how fortunate I am to have a couch on which to crash when I don’t feel so hot. That realization came sometime this morning while I was sitting at a Waffle House table with one of my homeless friends. I was supposed to spend the day with him to check out the different churches and shelters that offer meals and other services.
The plan was to meet my friend at the shelter where he stays then to come park my car at the church building since the shelter doesn’t allow people to park there during the day. From there we were going to walk to Lexington’s day center to get some breakfast, specifically coffee and donuts. While there we might check our email and hang out until it was time to move on. A few places in town offer a free lunch so we were going to decide where we wanted to go eat before we walked back to the church.
Instead, last night I went to bed sick and woke up feeling worse this morning. I still had to meet my friend because I had not other way to get in touch with him, so I got up and drove to the shelter. I picked up my friend then told him that I was not feeling so well. I asked if we could change our plans and just go out to breakfast instead so I could go home and lay down.
While we were having breakfast I asked him more about his daily routine. He talked about odd jobs, volunteering, and moving from place to place to get a meal. He then told me about how it was difficult some days to come back to the shelter because it meant facing people who were unkind, or worse, unstable. My friend’s bed is the top bunk in a room full of beds, so it is impossible for him to get any privacy or to just lay down and get some rest during the day when other folks are scurrying about. As he was talking I realized that he didn’t have the luxury of changing his plans so he could lay down and rest on a sick day.
After breakfast I dropped my friend back at the shelter. I then came home, turned on my tv, and crashed on my couch for several hours.
I think in years past I would have felt guilty about all this, but now I just feel more determined to love people the best I can with what I have. I feel more compelled to work toward justice, peace, and a bed with some privacy for every person who wants one.