I Never Had…

Jul 17 2019
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I Never Had…

By: Theresa S.

Being a homeless woman in Nashville has taught me so many life lessons through others. Many times we are too caught up in our own problems to realize that there are other people with much worse problems. While homeless, I worked on my life’s pursuits preparing to become an activist on behalf of poor children. I became homeless in 2012. The real reason I found myself in this predicament was because I was trying to become an activist and start a business at the same time. This endeavor failed because my overall vision was not clear. In a short time I found myself evicted. This was not my first experience at hard times. I was blessed to learn from most of my experiences and develop support systems for times of trouble. 

During my homeless journey I became a newspaper vendor for The Contributor. That was one of the best steps I ever took in my adult life. This allowed me to work on myself deeply. One day I talked to fellow vendor named Donna Sattler. She and I were purchasing papers at The Contributor. I had seen her around for awhile. She seemed nice and that’s about it. I left the office and got up to the bus stop just in time. The bus was approaching and I noticed that Donna was sitting on the ground so I reached out my hand to help her up. I joked, “Us middle aged women have to stick together!” We both laughed. When we were on the bus she kept thanking me. At least three times. I told her she did not have to keep thanking me. She said, “You don’t understand. No one has ever just offered to help like that.” I was stunned.

That statement made me think about what other people go through. In 2018 Donna Sattler died. I never took the time to hear her story. This made me feel very sad. It was an eye opener that she did not experience the basic human kindness that a lot of us take for granted. I will be forever saddened because I never got to encourage her. The whole experience taught me to be grateful. I never had to sleep, shower and eat outside. I knew how to build relationships on jobs and get help from neighbors. However, life can throw you a curveball. This cocoon of support unfortunately allowed me to develop an attitude of indifference towards my fellow homeless folk. I felt that a lot of them just didn’t want to do any better. I never considered the toll that mental illness, substance abuse, and incarceration could take on a person’s life. To experience human kindness is to experience GOD.

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