Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving

     Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day to give thanks for all that God has provided for us. I join in that celebration. God has given me much. He provides for me every day. Perhaps not in the way I would like, but I am always taken care of in one way or another.
     Tonight, as people go home to their families in anticipation of "Turkey Day", I will be out on a street corner hoping to catch a few stragglers willing to donate enough money to me so that I can eat tomorrow. You see, I am one of the many homeless American veterans people read about every day. I came to Washington, D.C. back in June of this year in anticipation of the (then) upcoming Benghazi hearings. As an activist, I wanted to witness those hearings and offer information I compiled in my own research of the incident.
     Two days after I arrived, my motel room was broken into and everything I owned was stolen from me. Since my divorce, I have not been able to accumulate money in the bank so it was a devastating loss. In that one instant, my life changed. I not only had no money; I had no identification and no bank card with which to access my paltry disability payments. Without my cell phone, I did not even have the phone number to call and report my card stolen. Of course, all of my work was also gone.
     It took some time, but eventually I found a resource from which I was able to contact the correct institution and get a replacement bank card, but the money was gone and I had to wait until the next deposit before I had any cash. Meanwhile, I had to find someone to send for (and pay for) my birth certificate, which took almost two months to arrive from California. I then had to get proof from the Social Security Administration that "proved" my identity, although they refused to issue me a new card until I obtained official photo identification (one of many run-arounds I  have encountered during this process). I then had to find a way to "prove" I live in D.C., which was challenging since "living on the streets" is not a physical address. Finally, just two weeks ago, I received a District of Columbia identification card, although I am unable to replace my Texas Driver's License at this time.
     Most of the people I know have no idea of my current circumstances. That is not because I am too proud; it is simply because I learned in a very short period of time that everyone has his/her own problems, and most people do not want to hear someone else's sad story. I found myself getting irritated when fellow homeless people wanted to bend my ear about their situations. Contrary to the popular saying, misery does not love company.
     I support myself on the good will of others. The little bit of money I receive from disability each month allows me a brief respite from the streets; I go to a motel and act human for a couple of days, buy needed personal items, and the like. But, it is not enough to be able to find housing for myself. There is a "rapid re-housing" program in D.C., but based upon my income I do not qualify. Barack Obama proclaimed that he wanted all veterans off the streets by 2015, and supposedly initiated a program to do precisely that. Yet, the Veteran's Administration has been of no use to me, and there is only one month left before the president's alleged deadline. I do not hold out hope for that.
     Anyway, I do not write this for the proverbial pity party. I have simply decided to go public. I comment online about everything under the sun on a daily basis, yet very few people know my story. Here it is. As soon as the weather clears, I will be heading out hoping for the good will of whatever strangers I encounter this evening, and I thank God in advance for whatever He is going to provide, because I know that He will provide.
     I wish everyone the best Thanksgiving as I give my own thanks for God's daily provisions.