For over a decade or so, I have lost SIX jobs, due to defense cuts; companies closing; down-sizing, etc. I have never been fired from a job or been let go because of poor attendance; attitude, etc. So, there has never been any finger-pointing on my part. That's the way it goes in a world economy...there's just more competition from companies abroad, and it's going to get worse...in my view!
Add to that, the heart-failure that I incurred and a pace-maker was implanted in 2005; and I lost all my possessions, while I was in the hospital for three months, etc. Upon my discharge from the hospital, i went to live in a homeless shelter...and I would get my meals, by standing in a soup line...something I thought would never happen to me, etc.
I lived in the homeless shelter for over six weeks, and everyday, a big yellow school bus would take everyone downtown at 6AM to get breakfast. Everyone had to leave the shelter by 6AM everyday by vehicle; bike; motorcycle or bus...no exceptions! The shelter would close everyday at six in the morning and re-open at five in the afternoon. We all had to find someting to do with our time during the day...like look for a job, etc.
Riding the school bus downtown, was the part I dreaded the most! I would spend much of my time looking out the window of the bus, reflecting on my life, and what could have gone so wrong, etc. "What am I doing here, anyway?" "How could this happen to me?" I didn't have any of the answers to my dilemma...but one thing was certain...I was awfully grateful for the meals I got during this time. This was the first time in my life I had ever gone hungry, and it was awful!
pride; (definition) the state of feeling or being proud;
"No one ever choked to death swallowing his pride." Thomas Jefferson
It was tough standing in a soup-line and being proud of anything! Not only did I swallow my soup...but I had no choice but to swallow my pride as well, that is, if I wanted to get through this ugly ordeal, etc.
I can feel comfortable, in saying, that most Americans don't like hand-outs; they don't like food stamps; they like to work for everything they have and provide for themselves and their families, etc. And, that includes me, and when I had to apply for food stamps, and when I have to stand in a soup line, I did not like it at all.
As far as I know, none of us have a crystal ball, whereby we can look at what's around the corner in life. None of us can do much about what fate brings us, and we don't have any control over destiny either.
"Pride follows many paths...speaks in many voices...and comes in many forms...some stranger than others." Lance Rund
One of the first things I noticed about those standing in the soup line, were the worn and weathered faces, that told the story! Many of these people lived in the streets, so I was fortunate that I had a roof over my head and something to eat. Especially at this time of the year, and in October, it was now getting a little chilly outside!
The meals were okay, and were the same everyday of the week. For example, there were scrambled eggs on Monday; pancakes on Tuesday; oatmeal on Wednesday and so forth. So, we knew everyday what was on the menu. I don't think that anybody mind, that the pancakes were the size of a quarter... as long as we got something to eat!
As far as fear was concerned in a place like this? I was cautious and pretty much stayed to myself. During the entire time, I saw no threats; no pushing and shoving; no violence whatsoever! It seemed like everyone was just trying to get their lives back together.
Everyday, I saw the worn and weathered faces, whose lives had collapsed below them. But, what was more disturbing to me than anythng else, was the fact that there were people who seemed like they didn't belong there. These were educated people, with good communications skills, and they looked as if they could put on a shirt and tie and work at the bank down the street! This fact was troubling to me, because these were ordinary American's who had fallen through the cracks...and they found themselves here.
This observation was quite disturbing to me, because everyday all across America, people are losing their jobs; losing their homes to foreclosure and falling through the cracks...just like the rest of us! It's pretty scary!
While I was in the hospital, I applied and got a pension from Social Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs, so I now had money to live on, and try to put my life back together.
At an early age, I think most American's dream of their retirement and what their later years will bring, etc. Owning their own home; savings to retire on; vacations; going fishing, etc. But, things don't necessarily turn out the way we had hoped or planned. Your dreams could turn into a night-mare!
"Generosity is giving more than you can...and pride is taking less than you need." Kahlil Gibran
"It can't happen to me!" At 60, I would have never dreamed, that I would be in a homeless shelter, or standing in a soup line at my age! You think it can't happen to you? Think again! I've been there...I've done that!"
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