I am writing this because I love the word ‘broken’. There is somewhat of a negative connotation about this word, however I view it in a completely different light.
I am in the process of writing a book based on the wonderful work of two writers. The first is ‘The Broken Way’ by Ann Voskamp and the second is ‘The Way of Blessing’ by Roy Godwin. These books have made a massive impact upon me and I will share why.
‘Givenness is a risk. The only way to abundant life is the broken way of risk.’ Ann Voskamp ‘The Broken Way’
‘The Broken Way’ made sense of my own suffering and has helped me to carry on. I am basing this upon the concepts she shares as a pain poetess. I would highly recommend reading her book. I also acknowledge and honour the book ‘The Way of Blessing’ by Roy Godwin , which inspired me to offer a prayer of blessing rather than preach at people.
So I would like to start at the very beginning-my beginning. My mum and I were homeless, in the sense of not having a permanent home, during my formative years, staying in a variety of temporary settings, such as a caravan and an annexe in someone’s garden. My father was studying, so wasn’t around very much. He was only a boy of twenty one at the time.
I grew up and battled depression for many years. I gradually developed a concern for others like me who were ‘broken ones’. I decided to try to reach out and connect with them and this started by going out and speaking to pavement dwellers as I prefer to call them because I do not like the term ‘homeless’ because it implied less than other people by not having something others have. Everyone has a home, sadly some people’s homes are the streets, unless of course that is because of choice.
I am also very concerned about the male suicide rate which is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Tragically, my own grandmother ended her life at a relatively young age, so I am very stirred up by this issue. Glenn Poole has spoken of a societal responsibility towards suicide, so as I am a member of society, I decided to do what I can in a small way to try to reach out to others.
I write this purely to encourage that-reaching out to try to connect. We never know what others may be going through and one small act of kindness could possibly save a life. And I would encourage anyone reading this who may be worried about someone to have that conversation and ask if they are ok. If anyone reading this is in trouble, then please ask for help.
There was a wonderful storyline on a show called ‘Coronation Street’ in the UK recently, when a man named Aidan Connors took his life. This highlighted the issue of male vulnerability and I state here that it is good for men to show their emotions and yes even have a good cry! And if you are a man reading this and feel sad and alone, there are organisations such as The Samaritans which offer 24/7 support via the phone and also a text service.
I want to start a debate on being a broken human. There is so much emphasis on success and perhaps this is making many people feel they may have failed or just can’t live up to the Facebook ideal of hundreds of friends and a perfect sanitised life.
Thank you for reading this-please keep recahing out to others.
Good Friday 2017
Myself (Hope), my mum and Sue
First we met Sid who was outside the Baptist church. He had laid all his clothes out and was transferring them from his suitcase into a lovely rucksack he had been given. Sid took a ‘To Kill a Mockingbird book’ and some socks. Later he asked for some food for his dog. We bought a can. We also gave him some water.
We then met Mark who also had a dog. Mark’s eyes literally lit up when we gave him the Easter egg. He said that he hadn’t had one for years. He didn’t want a book, as he already had one.
We then drove to to look for more people. We met Steve in a doorway who we also saw at New Year. He now has a tent but people have found out where this is, so he is going to move. He said he had tried to volunteer in a charity shop but when he told them his address was care of the Job Centre, they weren’t interested. He took an Easter egg and a calendar showing beautiful pictures of England and said this brought back memories. He also accepted a wind up radio and some poems. He said he still had the card I gave him. He said someone had stolen medication from him.
It was encouraging that there were only three men this time. I went to look in Westgate but couldn’t find anyone there.
All three men accepted a prayer of blessing.
The message from the streets is that people don’t just want a sandwich, or money thrown at them. They have a physical and spiritual hunger and long for more than their current circumstances.