Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Wish ...

At some point, between the opening of presents,
spending time with your loved ones
in the warmth of your house or a restaurant, or a parents house
as you sit down to eat the food on your table this holiday
in celebration of this season of giving ...

Please take a moment to remember,
there are people who have no one, no job, no money, no home, no food.
Perhaps in the joy of the season you might reach
out to someone you know, or don't know,
who finds themselves in need ...
and do something to help.

Make a difference.
Something tangible.
There is no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act of kindness counts equally.

My friend Shawn wrote this piece for me.
I am honored to post his words.
I am humbled by them.
I'll let them move you, they certainly moved me.


I sleep in this wreck strewn alley,
much unlike the one in An Khe where my journey down started. 
Where I lost, not only my soldiers, but my mind as well.


I am the Nurse you drew comfort from when you were sick or hurt; 
never showing the pain I was feeding with my drug addiction. 
I lost my calling when they found out.


I'm a runaway. 
I left my parents and my home when I was but a teen for I thought I had it bad. 
At least I had a bed, clothes, food, and a roof. 
My bed now is wherever I find a spot out of the wind, rain, and eyesight of others. 
I wish I could go back home.

I am the father whose wife and kids were killed by a drunk driver. 
I walked away from it all when I buried them;
never to return to the hurt that I hate so much. 
The cold and hungry feeling drowning out my true suffering.


I lost my job. I was the perfect employee. 
Management decided to cut costs to increase their profit margin 
in exchange for a better End-of-Year bonus. 
My family and I are now living from shelter to shelter. 
My sense of pride is as gone as our life savings and I look at my family, 
with whom I swore to provide for at all costs with a sense of helplessness.

You see, I am one of the millions of American's who were once full of life,
pride, and responsibility. I had a job, a home, and a purpose; 
all now stripped from me unceremoniously due to greed, 
mistakes, bad decisions...whatever the reason.
Now cast adrift on the sea of uncertainty 
I cannot tell you where I will be in 5 years but it doesn't look good. 
The longer I am out here walking among you, the people, 
I become dirtier and more unattractive.
Who will hire me? Who will give me back my life?


Your days are spent living life, as it should be, 
as mine are spent wandering around
like an animal foresting for food and shelter; 
my primal needs being the focus of my life. 
While you wonder where you are going to get the best deals 
on Timmy's Christmas list or finding the bottle of Champagne for New Year's Eve, 
I am wondering if I will survive the night in this cold.


I am too numb, too tired to cry. 
I think back on the life I had and the empty void of longing envelopes me like a cursed shroud. 
I long to go back to the days where I could run in the sun, 
feel the texture of the money I worked hard for, sleep in my own bed. 
My life was full of laughter, fun, and work. 
The thought of paying bills, providing for my family and myself, 
comforted me for I knew I had something to show for it.


In this rat race I fall behind as my shoes are tied together with the bindings of fate and misfortune. 
I walk by Social Services and wonder what makes those people 
so special that they get a handout for the rest of their life 
whereas I cannot get a helping hand. I have fallen in a pit and just need help out. 
Help me out of this hole that fate has dug for me. Help me for I want to help myself. 
I need a chance; I need to prove to you, and myself, that I can go forward just as you have. 
The only way for me now is down but you can help.


I am the Invisible; those you refuse to look at or think about. 
You either can't see me or won't but I am still here....

Written by
Shawn Randleman

If we have the opportunity, we have the responsibility.
I believe this with every fiber of my being.
I've been all over the world
photographing the homeless,
no matter where I am,
The face of homelessness
looks the same to me.

Will you ...
Be the change you want to see in this world?

It is my Christmas wish ...
that your answer will be an action that speaks Yes. 

One Love. One Peace.Always and all ways. 


La Table De Nana said...

The photographs and words should be published.. and perhaps be a gift we give one year.. with the proceeds going to people who need it.
Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone you hand a few dollars to? I did just recently and felt I saw the eyes of Jesus.Kind ,good and true.They were beautiful..and the bluest blue..
They saw through me it seemed.

I know it was the frame of mind I was in.. ;looking for those eyes perhaps..and I saw them..

I hope to never again pass up that opportunity..because I have way too many times in the past.
This is such a moving beautiful post.
THank you.

B'Sue said...

Shawn write from the heart and you capture his feelings in photos... what a moving combination. Barb

Anonymous said...

Very touching and beautifully written Kathleen, my husband and I spent a luncheon that we all participated in making the food, gifts etc. This made us so humble and blessed, and we hope to pass this tradition to our grandchildren when they are a little bit older, I know we past it on to our son!

You are beautiful inside and out...

Merry Christmas,

Kathleen (One Tree Past The Fence) said...


I know exactly what you speak of ...
And speaking of, what I read on Lola B's page, the link you shared, wow.
It's one of those, I wish I'd thought of that. I may have to repost it here it's so great.

Sue, it's always a nervous thing to take someone else's work and try to match it up with photographs in an attempt to do it justice. His words were incredible.

Good to see you back around! What a wonderful tradition that is. Truly. I'd like to think we're all beautiful inside and out ...that's what I'd like to think anyway.

I'm a pretty good read of people, and a quick one. I like very much that we have crossed paths, and look forward to getting to know you better. You're good people.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kathleen, right back at you!

Will (Astra Navigo) said...


Thanks for this. Really.

Be the change....


Kathleen (One Tree Past The Fence) said...

No Will ...

I see what you do.

thank you.

: )

Kathleen (One Tree Past The Fence) said...

you do really good things ...

domino effect in effect.

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs