On Wednesday I drove across Fresno, traversing streets that lead from the north side of town to southwest side, taking me through suburbs, commercial, industrial, and finally inner city housing. I cross railroad tracks and two freeways, sort of like dividing lines.
In one industrial area, just across the freeway, and near the city’s transit repair station, I see a young man pulling back fencing to get his small bike into an area where I figure he has his “residence.” My heart breaks. And I think to myself, “what would you do?” if you didn’t have a home, or a car, or a steady income? What would you do if you hadn’t made the decision to go to college? What if you had married your first boyfriend? What would you do if you had gotten hurt or handicapped and couldn’t work the jobs you did?
All those twists and turns of life. My situation could be so much different with just one choice, one chance moment.
Was it my DNA that pushed me to work hard, to always be working, to always have a job? Was it my DNA that gave me good health, mental and physical, that allowed me to do the things I’ve done and continue to do? What would I do if it had not been so? What if I had not had the good example of hard work in my family? What if I hadn’t gotten the advice I did, at age 23, to buy a home? What if I hadn’t changed careers at 37? What if I hadn’t married a man who decided a long-term military assignment would eventually pay off?
Small decisions which added up to the life I have today. What if those who I see on the street, without a place to live, made different decisions?
Sometimes I admit to myself it’s luck: my parents, my childhood home, my family, meeting my husband, college. Not using drugs and sticking to my husband were solid choices, college too, teaching, having children, staying home for the years before they entered school—choice. But still. So much luck, just plain luck and chance.
But to answer your question: What would I do? Muddle along as best I could and hope for a kinder world.
I am reminded of the admonition that, but for the grace of
God, there go I. So many people around the globe are suffering, and all I can do is pray for them to find happiness somehow.
My life is a combination of good choices and good luck. I feel for (and pray for) those who don’t have the option of both.
I relate to DJan’s “There but for the grace of God”. With all the things that have happened to me in my life that could have taken me down a different road, and looking back at times when bad decisions made by me could have wrecked my life but didn’t, I can only attest it to Divine Grace protecting, leading, guiding and my being open, listening to that which was leading and guiding.
I know that my mother and her missionary uncle prayed for me, even before I was born. God’s grace is indeed a powerful force in directing the path I’ve taken and the decisions I’ve made.
Well I have quite a few of those options that I’ve basically had little choice to endure – although I’ve always had a roof over my head but not necessarily my own property. Although at one point in my life I did own a house with my then husband…I’ve never had a career or a steady wage – as my choice was not available as such. Nor have I had a particularly good backup family. But somehow I’ve muddled on and I’m still surviving 🙂
I have a feeling that your country’s housing situation is much different than here in California. There are even places in California where housing is more affordable and plentiful, that’s why so many older people were left homeless during some of the bad forest fires. Those mountain towns had more affordable housing and many had moved there in retirement for a less costly way of life. We don’t have enough housing and especially enough low income housing.