Homes and Gardens

I went into the garden, but could not sit in my usual seat. I thought, how beautiful to be here, and wake up to this:

and how horrible. In October it might be bearable, in January it would frighten me. Not just the cold, but the possible lawlessness.

A man comes out to join me. The Quaker meeting is discerning about this use. It’s the only place in the town centre which is not patrolled by guards or wardens. The other side of the garden, a prostitute plied her trade, having laid a mattress behind the bush, and they only found out about it when she led two men in while a Quaker was there.

Now it is another bed-space. You can’t sleep in polythene bags, all the sweat condenses inside the bag and soaks you. Possibly that sock is hung out to dry, or wash in the rain. There’s a water bottle hidden in the bushes. You need access to water. Most people, he says, put cans in the waste bin.

He goes to put a large piece of cardboard in the recycling bin. It could be insulation for bedding. The council take the view that there are sufficient spaces in hostels so that no-one need be homeless, but the hostels are unpleasant, and you cannot enter under the influence of drink or drugs.

Hard exercise in Meeting again. Do I have an Inner Guide? I can discern different ego-states, but the part seeming closest to real me is the depressed and lacking in motivation part which says Don’ wanoo when the rational bit says what it would behove me to do. Someone quotes Isaac Pennington: Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.

and, she said, it is not. That is a lovely ideal, and there are tensions. And- we- can just- try- to- follow- the- Spirit.

It seemed to me that she was going beyond her leading, trying to get some hope, and the slowness with which she squeezed the words out showed the Spirit’s resistance. But that could just be my pessimism, at this moment.

I had thought, how beautiful are all the people here! I love them! And, I can be guarded, or even acting a calm, collected front; I can be present in the moment, aware of my surroundings- can I be Open?

Intermittently, perhaps. But when she quotes Pennington, I start to weep, and go out to wipe the mascara smudges from under my eyes.

Outside, there are a group of four people, in torn dirty clothes, chatting and perhaps drinking on one of the benches. I tell a local Friend, and he says they know them.

10 thoughts on “Homes and Gardens

  1. At least the (stick) horse is before the (shopping) cart. 🙂 I often get it the other way around. In fact, efforts to eliminate homelessness have obviously not found the correct order, either. Of course, most problems are much more complex than a simple cart and horse can solve. Homelessness is one of those, as is gender identity. We trans people who have stable housing should be grateful for not having the plight of homelessness as well. I know there are quite a few of us out there, though. 😦

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  2. It is sad to see homelessness and here in my country is the same, but I fail to understand the choice. There are other countries where people don’t have any choice, though, as the social system doesn’t take care of them.

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  3. There is a good number of the homeless population who are victims of circumstance, and I believe they should be given the opportunity to get back on their feet through social services. In my city, I think that the bulk of the homeless “community” is made up of addicted individuals and the mentally ill. There was a time when those people addicted to drugs or alcohol, and those suffering from mental illness, were institutionalized – out of sight, out of mind. I would imagine that much of the LGBTQ community would have been subject to such treatment, as well. I remember being afraid, as a child, of being “put away” if I ever let my secret be known; I imagined that I must be mentally ill for identifying as the opposite gender.

    Of course, it’s possible to be trans, mentally ill, addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, and homeless at the same time. I know of a few who fit the first three and are teetering on homelessness. It’s s sad to think that we do have the right to exist, but what sort of existence should be deemed acceptable in our society?

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