Home for the Holidays

Holidays are hard for people in general. And of course, I think they are hard for homeless people, too. After ranting my last blog, I felt you deserved a good warm story. Here it is…

A homeless teen (or maybe he’s 20) is anxiously awaiting tomorrow. He received a round trip bus ticket from his parents to Illinois. He’s looking forward so much to this. He can’t wait. He told me all about his excitement yesterday. He’s looking forward to seeing his family. He’s looking forward to seeing his old high school friends. He has a book he’s always wanted to read to take with him on the long bus ride.
He’s also a little worried. He hopes his family won’t mind too much his getting drunk regularly. He hopes they will treat him with respect even though he lives on the streets in Austin. He hopes they will not fight too much with each other.
What will he do after that? Well, the ticket was purchased round trip. So he’s coming back to Austin about a week after Christmas. The date is set. The plans are made.
I can’t help but be excited for this dear young man… for his honest excitement with going home. For his universal concerns about being accepted. I also can’t help but notice the problems in his life that the two-way ticket decries. He is alone without support in Austin, except from other street youth. This is the single most common characteristic of the homeless: a complete lack of a stable support network.
Please count your blessings this Christmas. Let your heart be warmed by the open joy of a young man who lives on the street but is going home for the holidays. Realize that we all have a child inside us who wants deeply to be accepted. And pray for him to develop a support network wherever he goes. He’s s wonderful young man. 

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