Thursday, 9 September 2010

Silence is Not Your Friend

The Survivors Guide to being Homeless: Part 2

Yesterday while watching a morning news programme they reported that the reason that some people end up on the street is silence. They showed the story of a young women whose relationship ended with her partner in bad circumstances and she had no where to go. So she stayed with friends for some nights and then slept on the street when she felt she was outstaying her welcome. She never told any of them what was happening and all of her friends assumed she had somewhere to stay. No one ever knew her situation because she stayed silent. She walked the street and put her life in danger, and she did it all silently. It wasn't until someone found out that she received help. 

In our situation we were vocal about our circumstances; our friends and family knew upfront that we were going to be homeless. The result? At every turn someone offered support, a hot meal, a bed to sleep on or just a listening ear when it was getting tough. My favourite was one day when I was feeling very low and a friend called to cheer me up and she shared a secret, she was wearing big knickers! I cannot tell you how we laughed and laughed and how much it cheered me up. It was a small thing but it got me through that day and the next actually. 

Silence is very powerful. Sometimes people think that if you just say nothing it will all be ok or the problem will go away. Sometimes people think that silence is better than the shame of someone knowing the problem. But silence can be destructive. Yes it is prudent to be mindful about who you tell things to but if you tell no one about your situation you will struggle alone with a burden that could easily he halved by others. 

The other thing that surprised me about our situation was that because we had spoken about our situation how many of our friends had been through being homeless. So many people shared with us the pain that they had been through not having a home. We were able to minister to others because we had shared our story. When there is silence it not only can make your own situation worse but it can make others suffer too. 

Silence is not your friend when your homeless or being made homeless. There is help available and all you need to do is ask but if you just stay silent then you can never get help. 

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