Keep On Knocking But You Can’t Come In!

At Thursday night’s shared meal for the homeless and those in need in southern Bucks County, PA, one of the guests was denied access to the meal because he was starting fights and talking extremely loud.  He was recently kicked out at another shared meal for this reason.   

The troublemaker tried to enter, only to have the host tell him he was not allowed in. He didn’t want to take no for an answer, and at one point demanded the host give him a ride home. The host didn’t grant him his wish and the guy finally left. 

The difference with the out of control guest and the Little Richard song is that I don’t believe the guy can come back and try again! 

It’s good that the host Thursday night threw the problem guest out, as did the host at another church that hosted a meal not too long before that. His behavior disrupted the meal for the other guests, who just want to go to a meal to be fed physically and spiritually at a place where friends can get together to mutually help one another. It also gives the homeless a bad reputation and sets a negative tone for this which, for many, is a social event. 

There’s been a long season of peace at the shared meals, as the problem people have either stopped coming or have been conducting themselves in a civil manner. In other words, they either shaped up or were shipped out! Not allowing bad behavior at a meal sets the right precedent. Letting guests know there are consequences for bad behavior sends the message that there is a standard for behavior at meals. Most guests act civilly on their own, but it’s good there are borders to prevent some people from ruining the meals. 

Homelessness does not define your character.  

Homeless advocates, myself included, have beseeched authorities and various parties to do something to give those without walls an opportunity to find a way out of homelessness. I say “opportunity” because some people who happen to be homeless don’t want to take the steps to improve their lot and act responsibly. My proposal a few years back to a Bucks County Commissioner to provide a homeless community fell on deaf ears. Others who wanted to privately help the homeless with housing were likewise stonewalled by the Bucks County establishment.  

Expecting and demanding civil behavior from those who are homeless shows that they are basically no different than all of us and that they are not written off as hopeless. 

Society must have rules. Not following the rules is how people get into trouble! When there is a consistent, major problem with people not following the rules, the only thing to do is to throw the bum out! 

Everybody Get Together

“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee” — John Donne 

The bell tolls in lower Bucks County, PA for a homeless man who recently passed after being hit by two cars on New Falls road in Levittown, PA. The homeless community has been mourning since, and have made a point to get together more often with one another. 

One of the places the homeless in Bucks County meet is at the shared meals for the homeless and those in need, where they can nourish the body and get together to edify one another.  

Except for a few problem people, who by the way are not homeless, the meals have been a peaceful place for friends to gather.  Reflecting on the man’s passing, I think of how we, especially those of us who are in a similar situation, should value the people around us, and not bicker over things but treasure each other’s company. And we should not allow the problem people to disrupt our peace.  

Shakespeare writes of making the most of our time here on earth, treasuring what we have, as we are just sojourners: 

That time of year thou mayst in me behold (Sonnet 73) 

William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616  

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold  

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang  

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,  

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day 

As after sunset fadeth in the west;  

Which by and by black night doth take away,  

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.  

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,  

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,  

As the deathbed whereon it must expire,  

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.  

  This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,  

   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.”