By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
During his “Restaurant Impossible” TV show, Irvine quoted the old saying, “When poverty knocks on the door, love flies out the window.”
I was curious what our Joy Junction guests felt about that, so I asked one of our managers to find out.
One woman said that after her best friend was murdered, she came to Albuquerque to see her big sister.
When her money ran out, worse was to come. She said, “My sister abandoned me and didn’t want anything to do with me, because I had nothing to offer her. I was very sad.”
(image via www.charginglife.com)
As a result, she came to Joy Junction.
One male guest said his poverty, and consequent homelessness, resulted in him finding out “people’s bad ways.”
He continued, “Their attitude changed towards me. Some people would come up and laugh at me. They don’t understand the reason for my homelessness. The Lord will get me through this, and I will never take my eyes off of Him.”
Another Joy Junction guest said she became homeless at the age of 35, and it changed her life.
She continued, “I lost a beautiful four bedroom home. I lost all sense of safety and security, life, and my world as I knew it. My world was completely turned upside down.”
She said friends began to judge her, and turned their backs on her and her children.
It also affected her family relationships. She said, “They automatically began to judge me and assumed the worst. They never offered to help us. I’m just happy that I still have my kids and God will never forsake us. “
However, it wasn’t all bad. Relationships with her children, who were four, 10, and 14 at the time deepened. She said, “My two older children understood what had happened, and knew that we needed to get closer.”
One guest said that when she first became homeless, her family made the situation even worse. She said they told her, “‘You lost everything; your home, your family and your life.’”
However, that wasn’t the case with her relationship with her husband. Homelessness, she said, made her bond with him grow stronger.
“Before, we used to fight and blame each other for things. We are now stronger as a couple, because we needed to rely on each other when others abandoned us. We’ve learned to be more supportive of each other.”
Another woman, 40, said that when she became homeless, it affected her relationship with her husband, her kids, and other people around her. It was deeply stressful.
“It was an everyday battle trying to figure out how to pay for our hotel room again. Most of the time we would sell drugs to come up with the money, but some days there were not enough sales. I started … shoplifting merchandise from stores.”
She added, “ My husband did not approve of me doing this. The stress of getting caught was always his concern. We would argue and blame each other for our situation.”
Understandably, that also affected the kids.
Another guest said that while his homelessness hasn’t resulted in love flying out the window, it has had a big impact on his family. Not just his children and their mother, but also his own mother and sisters.
He said, “They worry all of the time about how I’m doing, where I’m at, and if I’m eating well. They especially worry about if I take care of my (self). And … if I have a safe place to sleep at night throughout this cold season.”
This man said he appreciates all the help he has received from Healthcare for the Homeless and area shelters.
“It has helped me to survive a life on the streets,” he said.
You can see that the answers were a mixed bag for the people we talked to, but there’s no doubt that lack of money results in the stress level increasing.
So what about you? Has poverty knocked on your door, and if so, did love fly out the window? If so, you might have more than a little understanding of the plight faced daily by some of our guests. If not, please say a prayer anyway for those not so blessed.