Tuesday, December 18, 2007

chilly cookout

We got some dads and sons together for a chilly cookout. Not "chili," but frigid, snowy, cold... chilly. We wore lots of layers, built a bonfire, grilled burgers, toasted marshmallows and sat around talking "man stuff" while the wives and daughters went to another place for a fancy, dressed-up tea. It was a good time for all.


One of the dads (he visits here as Frodo) said he wanted to camp outside for the night. He constructed a makeshift shelter and brought sleeping bags and an inflatable mattress. Against my better judgment, I joined him.


The next day, I was tired and my body was racked with aches and pains. The brightly illuminated lot next door ensured that it did not get dark at all; their harsh lights flooded our field. The sound of those trucks and snow plows was drowned out by our own tarp which did not cease its furious flapping for even a moment. It sounded like a fishing boat in a hurricane. The mattress I was on deflated and became flat in the middle of the night. And let me tell you, it was super c-c-c-cold!


People have asked why a man of my age would do such a foolhardy thing. Part of it was just hanging out with Frodo. Part of it was a desire to conquer the cold. But more than that, I wanted to satisfy a curiosity about the plight of the homeless. Their bodies must take a real beating. How do people go night after night without adequate heat or a decent place to stay?


Anonymous said...

C - Such a noble endeavor. I think it's good for us to literally place ourselves in another's shoes.

On a side note, it's 75 degree F here today.

Llama Momma said...

We were in Chicago on Saturday and I had the same thought...how do these people survive??

I can't believe you did this. Goodness!!

L.L. Barkat said...

First you made me laugh.

Then you took my breath away, with sadness.

Craver Vii said...

75?!! It looks like Christmas Eve will give us a 19 degree day with cool winds coming in at 16 mph from Minnesota. If anyone from Minnesota or the North half of Iowa reads this, please think warm thoughts on Christmas Eve, okay? Brrrrr... Seriously Spaghettipie, I don't mind the changes in our weather. Toughing it out leaves me with a sense of accomplishment.

LM and LL, I have become friends with a man who is homeless. I wonder what he would think of this. If he had been there, he might have even laughed at us for what we felt we needed to make it through the night. Still, it's amazing how a person's perspective is honed by experience.

I recommend skipping a meal once in a while to remember those who are homeless and hungry. They could use your prayers.

Lin said...

Carver, that experience was a beautiful undertaking on your part. It is difficult to understand the suffering of those without unless we experience it ourselves - that's just the way we are. Good on ya, dear lad.

Cuckoo said...

First I laughed and then by the end of the post, I was saddened. It is really high of you to think about the homeless.

I always wonder (here in India you will find many homeless sleeping on the footpath/pathway during nights) seeing them how do they manage with so little in life. What's there which keeps them going and living life. Don't they aspire or have they settled for this as their destiny ?

Keep writing.

Craver Vii said...

In case anyone wonders exactly what I mean about "satisfying a curiosity." It doesn't mean that I want to convert over to that lifestyle, or anything drastic like that.

I originally got the idea when I heard that students at Moody Bible Institute would set up cardboard and other junk to stay in for a short period of time. It might have been a day or a few days. I am uncertain of exactly how long it was, but they would trade their comforts briefly, posing as the homeless, begging for their meals, in order to be better able to identify with extreme poverty.

When I was in Japan, I found that a successful businessman had trained with a mission organization, and as part of his training, had to practice homeless/begging survival skills, in case he got stranded "in the field" without support.

Talking with a homeless friend at the food pantry, I frequently pray with him and ask him how he's doing, especially when it's cold, and he has been spending his nights inside a van with a sleeping bag.

They probably die younger than the rest of the population because of their hard lifestyle. I wouldn't say that I've been obsessing over these thoughts, though. But once in a while, I wonder how much of it I truly understand. And these ideas come back to me every time I hear Jesus' teaching about the sheep and the goats, and how "inasmuch as you did it for the least of these, you did it unto me."

Unknown said...

What's next, Craver...the polar dip? *grin*

It's good to remember how blessed we are. Stops the grumbling.