Bill Gordon lives in Sedalia, Missouri. He spoke at the “Breaking it Down: Homelessness in Missouri” event that KBIA and Missouri Heath Talks hosted at Café Berlin on December 6.
Bill shared his personal experiences with homelessness – having been homeless in Columbia in the 90s and being a graduate of Welcome Home, a group that assists homeless veterans here in town.
Here he reflects on how his time being homeless changed him.
Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.
Bill Gordon: I have come full circle. I of all people know what it's like to not have no cigarette money in your pocket or the ability to help my children. I've been there and know what it's like, but the key point is:
I, as well as some of you, may have been broke at some point in your life or will be broke at some point, and no matter what your religion or if you're an agnostic - doesn't matter helping one another is basic - the good Samaritan - love the neighbor - Nirvana - the best is yet to come – Heaven – whatever –Purgatory.
But the point is, what a great life this is, and the more you share, the more you give away - believe me the more that comes back to you.
That's the lesson that homelessness has taught me - how many wonderful people there are. We all have something to share, if only a smile for the downtrodden.
Let me give you examples:
We have in Sedalia, Missouri, as you may have in Boone County, a residence with a post - four by four posts – a little wooden box that looks like a birdhouse - with a glass door.
It is a food pantry. There’s a sign on the front, “Leave what you want, take what you need. Please no perishables.”
What a great thing, and this is the high-rent district, you know, Sedalia is not a rich community. It's a low income, agricultural community, but here's somebody - at their own expense - built by hand - their personal food pantry with that message on the front.
I drive by as a retired person, while my wife works to bring home money so I can give it away, and check to see... I buy boxes of cereal half price at the local Big Lots for a buck a box. How much fun can anyone have for a dollar?
To give away in a box of Cheerios in this self-standing food pantry.
It's just one example of how your mind set of giving comes back a hundred- fold.
I could not have done this without the kindness of strangers, like you people, who will pass it forward – even just a smile - share what you have whether it's resources, finances, talent, labor…
We have so much to share if only a smile.