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Finding hope while being homeless in a pandemic


This column is part of an end-of-year faith commentary series called Risk Hope. Get weekly roundups of the project in your email inbox by signing up for the Living Our Faith newsletter.

This year has not only been challenging. For the most part, it has been a bad year, period.

First, there was the virus. Then, the city of Dallas was ordered to shut down. And during the summer months, my husband and I suffered through the heat and humidity while living outdoors. The only real comfort was riding a DART bus or train with air conditioning.

As far as hope for the coming year, it is anyone’s guess. I think things could get worse for the U.S. I won’t go into details, but you might guess from that comment that I did vote for Donald Trump.

What gives me hope, however, is my faith in Jesus and God the Father. I talk to Jesus every day and pray every night. I am not sure how the holidays are going to turn out, but I hope they still go on. At least the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was still a go. I always look forward to that parade, as well as singing carols with the radio and looking at Christmas lights.

In fact, looking at the lights, many of which I have looked at for the last 20-plus years, brings a smile to my face. I think back to enjoying the holidays when I was growing up with my family.

Nature also brings a smile to my face. I love to watch the birds and other critters of the woods. And I like watching people, especially children, playing with their friends and families. It reminds me of being a child — happy and not a care in the world.

I also find hope in the sense of community that comes with being with friends, and, of course, being with my husband. We have a good rapport with all the owners and managers of businesses around and close to the lake. I don’t panhandle at their stores — or shoplift. For those who knew me before, shoplifting is in my past. I have been redeemed and cured.

When I do have money, I buy what I need first. (And sometimes what I want!) I do not buy illegal drugs and very seldom buy liquor. I do, however, enjoy a little Irish Cream in my coffee.

We basically live our simple lives in the woods with our pets, a propane stove and propane heater, and our sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. We have lived in the woods for nearly three years now, and will be here until something better comes along.

Vicki Gies and her husband are homeless clients at The Stewpot in downtown Dallas and live with their pets near White Rock Lake. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

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