2023 May #1
By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)
There are so many different paths for people to take in this world. Some paths bring surprisingly wonderful and unexpected results…while other paths direct a person toward shocking and devastating ends.
Most of us do not plan for our lives to turn down “dark alley” pathways. From the first moment we understand that we can dream of life possibilities, we hope to have a bright and beautiful future.
We take the steps necessary to place us in positive situations, like graduating from school, seeking employment, getting married, or some other similarly chosen pathway. We work hard to complete our dreams.
There are times, however, when someone or something else is the reason why our lives fall into a deep pit. It could be an abusive spouse, an angry boss who fires people impulsively, a devastating storm that destroys a home, or the need to take prescription drugs for a medical procedure.
There are many more examples, but the point is made that there are times when we were not the one, or thing, to introduce the path that eventually led to homelessness.
Being homeless can cause a person to fall into a decline of emotions. The positive is gone and the negative fills in the gaps. Anger, denial, hurt, bitterness, depression, discouragement, disappointment and other emotions can and does affect everything a person thinks, says, and does.
That, in turn, can cause an “I don’t care” attitude, and then…sometimes…bad choices are made.
Turning to alcohol or drugs or any kind of destructive behavior is never a good choice. But, many times, it seems like it is the only answer to the person who sees no other path. They most likely think their choice (whatever it is) is for a short, quick “fix” and then they will “be better” and move on to the next step to help themselves out of homelessness.
But, that usually does not happen. That “fix” is repeated time and time again, and turns into a habit…which becomes an addiction.
Many of us have witnessed a homeless person on the street who is obviously drunk or high on something. We see them panhandling or sleeping in public places or trying to create a “home” out of whatever they can find. We feel so many emotions run through us at the sight.
Some of us respond by turning our head away (out of sight, out of mind).
Some of us respond by extending our arm out of our vehicle window, while stopped at a light, to give them some change, a snack, or a bottle of water (maybe that gesture will help them).
Some of us may even feel repulsed by their presence (get a job, loser!). But…
God sees every single human being the same.
He loves each one of us. He wants each person to have the opportunity to start living a life of freedom.
For example, one of our guests had this to say: “I was an addict, running with the wrong crowd. After I lost my job and my apartment, I realized that my life was really messed up and not going in the right direction. Since I had no home anymore, I decided to give Joy Junction a try…to see if I could get my life turned around. It took two tries, but I did manage to graduate from the program. It has turned my world around. I am living a clean and sober life, and I have found a job that I am determined to stick with. So, I tell anyone who will listen, that if life seems hard, keep on trying. If I can do it, you can do it.”
Freedom from homelessness really is an option. Learning about God and His plan for each of our lives is part of our Christ in Power program. In God’s eyes, no person’s faults are worse than another’s. He loves all people, at all times, and we want to make sure our guests know that.
We offer an opportunity for a homeless person to begin a journey down a path to a new life through our programs. Our staff tries hard to encourage and uplift those who enter our doors, no matter the situation behind the reason for their current homeless state.
We want to provide a reason, for each person we help, to feel hope for their future.
So, the next time you see a homeless person panhandling, sleeping on the sidewalk, or creating a living space out of debris, stop a moment and think about how they might have gotten to that point. It may even give you the opportunity to let them know Joy Junction is willing to help them.
As a concerned citizen, if you know of someone who needs a place to stay, call 800-924-0569.