The power of love: Crossroads, Chris & a message from the streets . . . .
It has been some time since he last made contact.
The nights have been cold, the days too for those with nowhere to go, the conditions punishing beyond our imagination.
That in mind, it came as a considerable relief to hear from Chris Tibedo earlier this week.
You might recall that Chris is homeless, spending his time seeking warmth and safety, taking cover anywhere he can find it, be that beneath canvas or, if he is lucky, in a shelter.
The message that prompted Chris to contact us, that love is all you need.
‘Thank-you for reminding me,’ he wrote.
To use another favourite song lyric, if we may, that’s the power of love.
That, of course, taken from a 27-year-old Huey Lewis and the News track that is as relevant in 2012 as in 1985, a song that included the line, ‘You don’t need money, don’t take fame, don’t need no credit card to ride this train’.
Neither, it seems, do you need a permanent roof over your head to feel the power because, without wishing to labor the musical theme too much, love is all around.
Here in our safe, warm studio in Saunderstown, we suspect it doesn’t always feel like that for those on the streets.
That brings us to the reason for this post.
To remind everyone – homeless and homed alike – that we are all connected.
To underline that, although a new year has just begun, an old problem persists.
Homelessness remains a big issue in Rhode Island, as recent rallies and protests in Providence have highlighted.
The politics we’ll leave for others; for us, the focus is on the people.
The people like Chris Tibedo and his peers, those whose plight continues this winter.
The people out there doing their bit and making a difference, and those whose lives are starting to improve as a result.
Real lives, real people.
People like Richard, preparing to move into his own apartment having spent 25 years on the streets.
People like Erika, who had been living in a van with her seven-year-old daughter.
People like Joshua, raising two small children alone.
People like Normand, who isn’t being flippant when he says, ‘I should be dead’.
The aforementioned four, all offered as success stories, examples that it is possible to make a difference, it just takes someone to reach out.
In these cases, Crossroads Rhode Island did the reaching.
Our admiration for the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless is on record, our feelings for Crossroads – helping homeless people, in one guise or another, since 1894 – are just as strong.
The leading homeless service organization in our state has a mission statement that speaks to us here in our studio.
You see, prominent amongst the group’s core values is ‘Respect – acknowledging the intrinsic worth of every person’.
Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about because, homeless or otherwise, we are all the same and we are all connected.
That’s me, you and Chris Tibedo too; it’s something to always bear in mind.
Chris, please keep in contact, please stay safe on the streets and please, never forget . . . .