Homelessness: Getting Plugged Into Family, Friends, and Society

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Homelessness—I sat in the dirt at a homeless city under a bridge with a beautiful blonde six year-old as she laughed and played mommy to a doll in her stroller. This scene was similar to the way children who live on the dump in Africa play, oblivious to the cares of the adult world around them, or the way the kids in the Romanian orphanage played with donated dolls, or the way my own kids play with cars at home.

Only on this day, we were under a bridge in Oklahoma, with hundreds of homeless men and women around us. This could have been any other outdoor festival in America, as people moved through the food line, laughed, danced, and chatted about life. A homeless guy named Joe from Colorado took this picture of me and, when I got back to the cool air conditioning of my car, I stared at it for awhile. I'd made the choice to go back. But so many of my friends do not.

Having homeless friends really makes you think. Because contrary to what you might read, homelessness is not about economics. Homelessness is about being unplugged. Unplugged from friends, family, loved ones, and finally, society. Homeless people are in bondage because they've bought into lies. Unable to overcome past wounds, or hurts, or loss of a job, they choose the street or shelter or life under a bridge. Most of them have parents, brothers, sisters, and friends who have no idea they're homeless because they're too prideful to tell them. And aren't we the same way at times? Pride and shame prevent us from reaching out.

But a lamp can't give off light if it's not plugged into an outlet. And you and I can't grow and thrive if we're unplugged from the world, from friends, from God. A homeless child can't thrive and flourish without wisdom, knowledge, nutritious food, and the love of others. But a lot of people get stuck, some of them just like you and I, and they keep their kids stuck too.

The homeless child doesn't deserve to live under a bridge.

But I also know people in the suburbs who cope with stress by overeating, over shopping, over controlling, over drinking, over thinking, or numbing themselves with television. We've all been there, sliding into a negative habit at one point or another in life. But some people are so unplugged that they just can't see it.

I was going to title this entry: In a rut? Get unstuck, today. Because being with my homeless friends under that bridge this week, reminded me that we are all just one step away from getting stuck. Or unstuck. I made a choice to leave the city under the bridge. I made a choice.

But many of them did not make that choice, and they've chosen to plug into a darker, seedier side of life that now feels comfortable. There are no boundaries when you're homeless, no rules, no curfew. The cardboard box doesn't tell you when you have to be home, and there's no spouse to answer to. But once you get unplugged, it gets harder to see the right path. This action really is as easy as taking just one step and grabbing a lantern.

Get plugged in, to the world, to your faith, and to people. No matter how bad your rut seems, let go of whatever toxic habit takes up too much of your time, and drags you down. This might be something really simple. All a homeless person has to do is move. Leave their homeless friends, and influences, and reach out and up. One step, that leads to another.

No matter what your circumstance or status of your relationships are, you can access the power of abundance and happiness with momentum. Take a step in the right direction. Do it now. My friend Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs, says, "If you can't get a miracle, become one."

Take action. Move. Make the right choice.

How will you take control of your life today? What will help guide you down the right path?

Tammy Kling is a life coach, advocate for the homeless, and international author of 29 books including The Compass. Tammy is also the founderr of Write it Out, an organization that helps gang members, the homeless, and those living on the street write out their hopes & dreams via writers workshops, free journals and various other resources.

In addition to writing and coaching, Tammy is a mom of two boys, an avid trail and mountain runner, blogger, and adventure travel writer.

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I'm a book author, homeschool mom of boys, mountain runner and advocate for the homeless. Founder of Write it Out, a homeless recovery program that teaches writers workshops to the homeless and gang members, in order to focus on using the power of words to restore, recover, and rehabilitate.


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