Why is it that we seem only to care about the poor on Thanksgiving Day and at Christmas? The poor are always in need. They don’t stop eating after the holidays. The street people are the most in need, yet we hardly think of them. This sad truth was brought home to me and my classmates one frigid morning in December of 1974.
An excited buzz went through Victoria Composite High School that morning. When I asked a friend what was going on, he said, “Some wino froze to death next to the school.” I wanted to see what was going on but the bell rang for class.
The Social Studies teacher seemed to think that the thought of somebody dying next to the school would traumatize us. Once we settled down at our desks, he began explaining about homeless people and their tragic lives. Though I felt sorry for the man, I didn’t feel upset that he perished on the school grounds. After all, stuff happens. From the reactions of the other students, it seemed to me that our teacher was the only one deeply effected by the tragedy.
One statement did surprise me. Our teacher said the man was once the vice president of General Motors. I don’t know how he found that out but the fact that a person could fall from such heights of corporate responsibility amazed me.
As soon as I arrived at my rented room during the lunch break, I phoned the news room of CHED, the local rock station. I was nervous at first and had to do the interview over. A few weeks later, I received a cheque from Moffett Broadcasting for $5.00. That was a fair sum for me since I was on Social Assistance at the time. Instead of feeling guilty for profiting at the expense of the homeless man’s death, I felt happy. That cheque was the first one I earned and it made me feel proud.
In the sight of God, nobody is insignificant. From the poorest beggar to the richest business executive, Each soul is the Lord’s concern. I support Hope Mission because they not only feed and clothe the poor but give them the life-transforming gospel. Unshackled, a radio drama portraying the changed lives of down-and-out people, has taught me that the transforming power of the Holy Spirit does more than make a person nice. Their entire lives are radically transformed. Many saved individuals go on to be productive citizens with jobs and families. Though I lacked the compassion to care much for that homeless man back in 1974, I believe I’ve more than made up for it with my donations.
As for my own transformation, I wrote about it in a memoir called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Amazon and Barnes & Noble distribute the electronic version while Virtual Bookworm stocks the paperback edition. Please also check out my previous books at the Bruce Atchison’s books link.