How can I help?

This past weekend, Leo and I were asked if our house would take in someone who was in need of a place to stay until they could get onto their feet after a rough time. After a bit of discussion with housemates, we said yes. We’re lucky enough to have a big downstairs common room with a bed. Our guest has been lovely. Late last night, we got another call. Could we take in another person who was in the midst of a spiritual crisis of sorts? Sure, we said, and I made a comfy little bed on the floor next to the pet rabbit’s cage.

A friend asked how I felt about taking people in. It’s funny. It seems so simple, really. Need a place? Here, I have space. Need some food? Here, I’ll feed you. Need some money? All I have is $20 in my wallet, is that good?

There’s a need and I have the ability to respond, so I do. I am happy to open my home and I love welcoming people into my embrace, literally or figuratively, and help them feel a bit more comfortable or a bit more peaceful than they did before. I’m moved by these strangers’ stories and I am aware of the fact that all I have received is mere snapshots of the complicated lives they live – as we all live.

I’ve often had an idea of creating a house where people in need can come and stay for a while or even my hippie friends to crash for a night or two on their travels. But, somehow, it’s always seemed kind of far away. I’ve felt impeded by imaginary obstacles. These things are complicated, aren’t they? Aren’t there legality or liability issues? Someone somewhere has documents with rules and regulations on it.

The thing is, I don’t have to have some kind of established organization or trust to help someone. All I have to do is respond to a need with what I have to give.

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