It’s strange writing from abroad, but I’m glad these past months have provided me with opportunities to think more about homelessness. Just last night, I saw something that gives me so much hope.
Last night, I was sitting in a café and noticed two young men walk by. They were wearing their dark, black robes which Oxford students have to wear sometimes for fancy occasions. I always notice it (mainly because it reminds me of Harry Potter). Then, I saw the two robed students were walking with a third man wearing a red vest. I immediately smiled.
That red vest was the sign of a vendor of The Big Issue, an international street magazine usually sold by people in poverty or experiencing homelessness. I tapped my friend on the shoulder and told her to watch those three men-- because they were talking like best buds. It wasn’t that forced kind of awkward chit-chat. It looked happy and genuinely engaged. One of the robed students leaned over to pet the vendor’s dogs next to him. They walked down the whole stretch of High Street.
Geez, what could get more disparate: Oxford University students wearing fancy clothing and a person who might sleep every night on the street?
It gave me hope that the things we consider unfixable, too stuck, or maybe even “Just the way it is,” don’t have to be! Just because you have a nice home, own a nice car, and wear nice clothes and eat in nice restaurants, it doesn’t mean that the person experiencing homelessness you just passed is inaccessible. It doesn’t mean that you are inaccessible. Genuine conversation is possible between any kinds of people.
KNOvember is about breaking barriers. Will you join me in this move to love others? Let’s get lost in good conversations with different people. Let’s start something really good. We can start, simply, with our closets.
Buy one t-shirt. Give even more.