During this period of Thanksgiving, family get together’s and comfortable times, Vernon and I never forgot how precariously we had spent the summer months on the streets of Nashville.
We are constantly thankful for the help, support and creativity of a friend in John Perkins.
For Vernon’s younger brother Ken and his beautiful family, who took us in over the holiday of gratitude…made us feel most welcome, wanted…loved.
Not once have we forgotten our friends less fortunate, who still face the struggle of day-to-day survival in a homeless world.
We think of them more so now than we ever have, now that winter brings colder weather.
Now that the holidays are here and families are united, share food, enjoy gifts and comfort…
So many have no family. Or they have long been estranged.
There are few friends on the street. It’s very hard to trust anyone or let your guard down.
Sub consciously you find yourself putting up a wall. An imaginary wall of protection from the elements, from figures of authority or others trying desperately to survive, just like you.
They spend Thanksgiving and Christmas alone or perhaps with a church group willing to sacrifice their own time for those in need or without.
Forever more, Vernon and I are particularly thankful because we have been there. We have experienced homelessness.
We both have encountered a rocky road in life. Poor choices, bad decisions…untimely or inopportune. Call it what you will.
Vernon enjoyed success. He met and mingled with the famous and talented. He was given opportunities…
Some may say he blew it all, that he lost everything because of his own excesses.
That he, quite possibly is his own worst enemy.
I, too followed a similar path.
Struggling so much with myself. Fighting the flow of life…
Maybe we are all guilty of doing just that, at some point or another in our lives?
There is, all of a sudden time to indulge ourselves.
The rewards of hard work, talent and success, uplift and ply our ego’s.
We finally see a fruition to all our hard labours, to all the hours we have struggled with the coming to reality of our art and ideas.
We squander the chance to enjoy a time rich with comforts. We experience a momentary lapse of responsibility.
It’s a very hard time for some to handle. Everything happens so quickly.
Friends that you thought were friends really never were.
We become self-absorbed…
Without thinking, we choose a path of self-destruction.
And then something happens to turn it all around.
A soul search.
A casual conversation with someone who cares.
We both have many to thank for our renaissance.
To come out of such a wilderness, relatively unscathed…
and to be given a second chance.
What a unique and special blessing!
One that we both cherish everyday.
The gift of having survived.
The opportunity to now make the right decisions.
And to do good with all that comes our way.
For that we are truly thankful.
“It’s not what you have, but who do you love?”
From the song, Rich Kids (written by Vernon Rust)
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Nashville Wild Child documentary (Kickstarter project)