Dawn in Washington, DC

Light Dawning

Dawn in Washington, DC

Every morning I walk through his bedroom.
He never gets upset.
He does not seem to mind.
He does not know me.
Or perhaps he does…know me because…
Every morning I walk through his bedroom
several. thousand. times.
I pass by his bed
so close I could touch him.
But we are not close.
I do not know him.
Or perhaps I do…know him because
I am told whatever I do
or I suppose neglect to do,
to the least of these
I have done to him.


21 Responses

  1. It looks beautiful. Did you use a high quality camera?

  2. My cell phone camera. I think it has a plastic lens…

  3. The picture is beautiful – almost. We can walk right by –

  4. I am bombarded with these images daily Papa.

  5. Ric, how do you handle this? Do you ever get a chance to talk to these people? Jer and I went on our first under the bridge outreach a few weeks ago…they are people…it breaks my heart.

    Even if they’ve made bad choices to which they need to live this way, when do we get past that, and understand what “the least of these” really means?

    Thank you for this…

  6. Deb,

    You are welcome. And to your question, how do I handle this… I don’t think we can. I think we can only respond to this. We have to trust God to handle it. Some of my responses are: volunteering at the Gospel Rescue Ministries (http://www.grm.org), giving money, not giving money, giving food, helping to serve thanksgiving dinner last year, raising awareness (through this blog, my poetry, and my time at the mic), listening, and praying.

  7. That is an all too common scene in just about every city in the country.

    Supporting shelters, and treating everyone with the same degree of dignity, is important work. I have done some, but not really enough.

    I keep hearing our politicians talking about what a great country America is, then I see all the homeless on our streets, and young people selling their bodies on the street corners, and I think we have a long way to go.

  8. Since working in downtown DC, I have become very familiar with this scene. You will not find this on any post cards but it is one of the truest elements of our nations capital.

  9. wow. why do we walk on by? what are we afraid of?

  10. Hey Tam, I hear you. I also wonder why is this even happening? Why are there hundreds of homeless people sleeping on sidewalks in the capital of the richest, most power nation the world has ever known. Why are there opulent million dollar condos 2 blocks from a homeless shelter that is forced to cut staff due to decreased funding? why?

  11. D.C. Dawn,
    Do the great patrol grates?
    And is the grate patrol greateful?
    I am.
    Thanks Ric.

  12. Thank you, Ric…

    …and Sam. (wow, PTL!)

    Why do we walk on by? I think because we hope someone, somewhere is doing something.

    Is it enough? No.

    Will it ever be enough? No.

    What am I doing? All I have heard Him ask of me.

    It’s never enough.

  13. and it all seems hopeless. but it cant be. it just cant be.

  14. Sam: I may have to steal your lines! Thank YOU bro.

    Michelle: A few are doing a few things. There is so much more opportunity here.

    Tam: No, it is not hopeless. We can end this.

  15. nothing is hopeless. just do something. God will honor it.


  16. I have seen lots of homeless people in DC..eating out of the trash right outside of the smithsonians..congress..i have wondered the same thing..

  17. Darla, yes it is perplexing … wealth and poverty coexist and both appear ok with this.

  18. Brotha Ric, I worked as the director of our State’s Homeless Coalition for six months. Every 6 months, the coalition conducts a Point in Time Homeless Count Survey. On a cold winter night, I set out on the streets of our part of the State and searched for homeless individuals. I came across one in a parking structure; he was huddled up on the third floor where no one could find him. I spoke to him for a few minutes and left. I went to Walmart, bought some blankets, a pillow, some food and took some money out of the ATM and I went back to the structure. I helped him get situated, gave him a hug, told him to buy himself some breakfast and told him God bless him. That had to be a life-altering experience for me. Some people may say that he could have gone to a shelter or I didn’t help much by what I did, but I did as God led me to do and I had a greater understanding that night [met many other individuals along the way, during those 24 hours, both on the streets and in various shelters] about why some people are stuck in this vicious cycle of homelessness and how wrong some of our perceptions are concerning that population.

    It’s a beautiful but sad picture of the reality. There are homeless and as Christians, we are called to feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked.

  19. I kind of hit submit prematurely but yeah I said all that to say that it’s difficult to know what to do in the greater realm of things because there are only so many people we can help individually but even helping one is powerful. And from my experience of interacting with that population, they don’t have an issue with approach. If they feel comfortable, they will talk, if not, they will walk away. It’s pretty simple. And you know where you stand, for sure 🙂

    Have a blessed day Brotha Ric!

  20. Wow… you are amazing Braveone. I am trying to think of how many brave, radical young women (or even young men) would have done what you just described! I like what you said… “It’s pretty simple.”

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