Thursday, December 19, 2013

No Room in the Inn

Bird and I were Christmas shopping last night when we stopped at an intersection where an apartment building is located. On the curb was a pile of furniture and other belongings that looked something like this:

As we sat there silently with Christmas music playing in the background and my "to do" list running like a ticker through my mind, she asks "what's that?" I thought for a moment. I thought "well, it's someone who hasn't paid their rent" and "this is what happens when you make bad decisions" and not-so-nice words came to my mind like "deadbeat." But what I replied with was "well, that's an apartment building and if someone doesn't pay their rent, they get kicked out."

"But why is their stuff on the ground like that?"

"The landlord probably gave them several notices that they were behind in their rent and then that's what happens after your last notice...they clean out your apartment and throw your stuff out in the yard."

"So they sleep inside without their couch or their clothes?"

"No. The landlord takes the apartment away from them and they either come get their things or the trash man will."

Pause. The light turns green.

"Do you think their Christmas presents are in that pile? Where will they do Christmas?"

And just like that, a little girl with a heart of gold softens this oft-too-jaded soul and humanizes what is so easy to dehumanize.  There's a person behind that pile. Maybe a child. And where are they celebrating Christmas this year? And, more importantly, where are they sleeping tonight? I don't have answers to any of this. Just sharing a conversation.