I sit here tonight in my warm house listening to the wind blow just outside my window. I know very well that it’s cold out there. As a matter of fact just prior to settling in to write this blog I looked at the thermometer which read negative 4 degrees!
Now I sit here typing as I listen to the wind. I can’t help but think of the people that may be out on the street. I don’t mean people who are out for an even of frolic and fun. I am thinking of the homeless right now. I can’t help but worry about those that have no shelter when the weather is like this. If you think about those who are cold, if you happen to put yourself in their shoes tonight…
I pull the thin parka around me as my muscles tense up; my body’s reaction to the cold. My jaw gets tight as I try to keep my teeth from chattering while the wind whips through the street. It creeps in behind my neck forcing its way down my back. I reach up and lift the collar of the coat forcing it to reach my ears that are exposed to the cold air. I am torn between protecting my cold ears with the jacket and the desire to force my hands deep into the pockets to keep them warm. It’s no use. There is no relief. The cold is too much.
I continue walking hoping to find shelter from the cold wind. My face is burning now from the cold air. My nose is beginning to run. I reach up to wipe away what has dripped off the tip of my nose. I have to laugh as I realize ice has collected just there. I keep going if for no other reason than to keep my blood moving. If I don’t stand still; if I keep walking my blood will continue to work its way through my body, keeping me, well not warm, but alive. I turn as my thoughts are interrupted by a car as it passes. They don’t even notice me. They look right through me as if I am not standing here freezing. I am not surprised. I see that all the time.
I have now reached the alley that I am hoping will at least shelter me from the wind. I lean against the brick as I slide down that wall and sit, curled up hoping I can produce enough heat to keep my blood moving. My teeth begin to chatter again. My joints are getting stiff. Maybe I shouldn’t sit still. I’m really tired. I just need to rest for a little while then I will get up and move around some. I sit quietly with my thin jacket wrapped tightly around me. I can hear the noise of the night floating away. I can see my breath, so I must still be alive. It’s getting colder. I’m so tired. My eye lids are getting heavy. I force them open and look around one more time. I don’t see anyone. I only hear the voices as they slowly drift off into the night. My feet are starting to tingle. Maybe it’s warming up. My neck hurts, I need to straighten up. Instead I lean over and lay down, curling up tighter into a ball. I think my breathing is getting shallow. No, I’m just tired. I can’t stay awake; I don’t want to stay awake. If I sleep I won’t feel the cold. I don’t want to be cold anymore. I’ll sleep for a while. It’s ok, just for a few min….
This is the life of a young girl freezing in an alley. Will she wake up and walk to stay alive. Or will she freeze there curled up in a ball against that brick wall? You won’t know because this is where the vision ends.
I will pray that those that are in the cold will seek out the shelters in the area. I will pray that those who pass by the homeless will not look right through them but have compassion and direct them to a shelter or buy a meal, or a blanket. We are working to keep the shelters and the soup kitchens open. Lets pray that the homeless find their way to a shelter not an alley.