Sunday, May 20, 2012

Homeless and Heartbroken

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Psalm 147:3

Before I even knew her name, my heart broke for the homeless girl holding the sign that read:

"Sober, Homeless, Hungry, Down on Luck."

I only had a butterscotch flavored Dum Dum lollipop to give her, but Amanda was very greatful.
She stood by my back window of my car as my dogs barked, but then licked her face. 

She remarked, "This is true therapy."

She mentioned she had a dog, who was back at her tent.

I asked, "Where are you staying?"

She told me, "The foothills of Presidio," which is ironically close to the Spanish Mission that was built as a safe haven for weary travelers during the early settlement of California.  Each mission stood approximately a day's hike away from the next.

She added, "I just left the river 'cause I got a black eye from someone who wanted the $10 I made out here one day."

I asked, "What do you need?"

She said, "A sleeping bag.  I just left my husband two days ago at the river.  He was smoking crystal meth."

I told her that I was on the way to my church's thrift store, just around the corner and would see if I could find one for her.

She thanked me and the light turned green signaling my departure.

When I entered the warehouse for the Rock Thrift Store, I knew exactly where to go, as I volunteered there last Monday.  There's a bin in the back that is full of items intended just for homeless and I bet you can guess what was sitting right on top. 

I not only found a sleeping bag, but also a soft comforter, a cozy jacket and even an air mattress. 

I would definitely say, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

Or better yet, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." -Matthew 7:7

The thrift store employees knew that God had put this on my heart and didn't charge me for the items, when normally you would need a voucher. 

So I bagged them up and took them to her.  As we stood there on the corner, she told me her story, which you can read some of it here.  She used to have a cat named Angel that would sit on her shoulder, but he got hit by a car and she couldn't get afford to get him out of the shelter, for they wouldn't release him unless he went straight to a surgeon and Amanda didn't have the $2,000 to pay the specialist.  Tears welled up in her eyes as she talked about it. 

She now keeps the company of a dog named, Hades, and says that people often ask her, "How can you be homeless and have a pet?"

Her answer is simple.

"Imagine you lose everything and are living in the middle of the woods in a tent.  Could you stand to be alone?"

I also used to wonder how people could be homeless and care for themselves and an animal also.  I used to think that they were just using the pet to invoke sympathy from passers by.

Now I get it.  This is the reason they are alive. 

Without the love of the pet, they would be all alone, and worse, feeling loveless.

Amanda describes pan handling, “It’s like being an animal in a zoo, standing out here with people pointing and staring,” she says. “It’s the most humbling thing a person can experience.”

I gave Amanda my phone number and told her to call me if she ever needed to just talk.

I really hope she reaches out, because as the writer mentioned in the article, Amanda has an "air of decency about her" and I know that God has a plan for her.  She already has a very powerful testimony to share. I just hope that my role in it isn't done yet.

Here is the type of life Amanda is living.

If you see one of these "tent cities" pop up by you,
chances are there is an "Amanda" out there who needs you, too.

And I pray that it breaks your heart, just as it did mine, so that you won't just feel bad,
you will actually DO SOMETHING!



  1. Thanks Sarah! Meeting Amanda really affected my heart and changed my mind. :)