Gratefulness: The Homeless Have It, Why Don’t We?

By Aubrie Wise

Editor-in-Chief


If you were to ask someone you know how their day was, would they answer you honestly? And if they did, would it be full of complaints? We, as a society, have learned to obsess over the negatives and see the positives as ‘not enough.’

We are quick to judge and even quicker to lie to make ourselves seem more exciting and flawless human beings, but what if we were stripped of everything we have?  

What if all of our status, pride, and worldly possessions were taken away? What would we be left with? 

I went on a mission trip to Biloxi, Mississippi a land that is broken and full of homeless people after Hurricane Katrina. However, the homeless are some of the happiest, grateful, and vulnerable people I have ever met.

Michelle Folkenroth (left) and Holy Gieple (right) pray with a homeless man. The man had approached the sisters asking for someone to pray with and the pair happily prayed with him.
Michelle Folkenroth (left) and Holy Gieple (right) pray with a homeless man. The man had approached the sisters asking for someone to pray with and the pair happily prayed with him.

What if all of our status, pride, and worldly possessions were taken away? What would we be left with? 

I went on a mission trip to Biloxi, Mississippi a land that is broken and full of homeless people after Hurricane Katrina. However, the homeless are some of the happiest, grateful, and vulnerable people I have ever met.

As I served these people their dinners or sat down with them, every one of them smiled; every one of them said thank you.

I met a veteran one of the days. He had served in Iraq but when he came home after Hurricane Katrina, there was nothing but derbies to return to. 

He now lives on the streets with only what he can carry on his back. He had a guitar with him and played a little but winced as he played, when I asked him why he was wincing he showed me his arm.

The veteran, a man who served this country, had a broken arm with no health insurance to receive care for it.

His story was so tragic and sad yet as he talked to me about his life, he had a smile on his face and was thanking me.

Can you imagine? I had done nothing but shown up to the Homeless Day Center that day and asked him about himself, and he was grateful to me. He was grateful I cared.  

I asked him why he still played his guitar when it only hurt him, and his answer was so simple and good-hearted; he said the other homeless people liked to hear him play and sing along.

A heartwarming moment between Michelle Folkenroth, a mission trip volenteer, and Jeff, a homeless man. Michelle prays with Jeff for him.

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