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Survivors Guilt - A Journey from Darkness to Beacon



As twilight falls upon the soul, the weight of guilt settles with an unyielding grasp; the harbingers of survivors' guilt whisper a croon, luring one into the treacherous depths of despair. Such has been my odyssey from the ignoble shores of homelessness, a descent that rendered me intertwined with the dreams, yearnings, and stories of countless souls lost amidst the night. Yet, despite the darkness, there glowed vestiges of hope and dignity - a subtle beam that seared through the veil of wretchedness calling me to seek the lustrous threads back to the world.


In the heart of this moral conundrum, a pantheon of human souls emerged a vivid mosaic of lives, a gallery of portraits embroidered upon a blanket of despair. From the depths, they rose like an ethereal chorus of men and women, their faces etched by sorrow, their hearts yearning for hope. And in their humble manifestations, these wanderers taught me lessons of resilience, courage, and compassion.


In my dreary sojourn, I encountered both the corrupt and incompetent like James the homeless shelter administrator at EECM, the fallen cop who built empires and fed his ego upon the backs of the beleaguered. His scriptures, masked in holy writ, profited on the souls of the sick and poor in the name of God, accentuating the symphony of suffering and fear that played around us.


But I also stumbled upon the indomitable spirits of Emily a brave young woman at the EECM shelter who despite her demons defied the crushing burden of despair and held the flag of dignity aloft; in the face of abject dehumanization, she whispered hymns of hope into the cacophony, painting the gray canvas of life with hues of resilience and self-reliance, and there was Izzo a man of many stories, Yum, Brandon, Old Edward, older Edward, and Stu the residents of EECM who I would not have otherwise met but who all became family and taught me the value of life, again.


The caring staff of EECM who did not see the residents of the shelter as inmates to control or commodities to profit from but as unfortunate souls whom they sought to help. From the Big guy to the graduate student, the young man and the mother former shelter-dwellers themselves, their commitment persisted. Likewise, Abdule, a counselor at Light of Life Rescue Mission, and denizens of Pleasant Valley Men's Shelter, their names lost but their kindness remembered.


With each step, and the kindness of good people in this labyrinth of the destitute, the cogs of redemption began to turn, inching me closer to the precipice of ascent, guiding my arduous return from the abyss. As I climb the daunting heights, my heart weeps for those I leave behind, for the angels who have guided my path. The crushing guilt that shackles my spirit threatens to drag me back into the choking embrace of those murky waters.


Yet, against the odds, I am climbing through this penumbra, lifted upon the wings of newfound purpose, knowing that my arduous trek allows me to extend a hand to the forsaken. With blessings bestowed unto me, a symphony of empathy has been unleashed within as I choose to offer a beacon of light to those still enveloped by volatile realms of desperation. My lantern is now a lighthouse on the edge of desolation, beckoning the lost to paths of redemption.


But like a firefly's glow, my hand can only reach so far; a realization both wondrous and woeful, the paradox of the human condition. The bittersweet taste of life's poetry whispers to me, as I grapple with the undeniable knowledge that, though I have emerged as the ferryman for some, there remains an infinite sea of weary souls, still drowning in the tempest behind me.


In eternal rhythm, my spirit sways between exaltation and lamentation. Upon this path, there is a small beacon of hope infusing those adrift in life's unforgiving sea. Yet, the weight of remorse pursues me across the boundless waters. May my words become luminous flares amidst the vast night sky, narrating the tales of unseen souls deserving kinship, compassion, and equity.


They, who aid my passage, slip through the crevices of remembrance and dissolve into oblivion, for they are displaced, forsaken. Unidentified, they rest on morgue slabs, consumed by their nightmares, victims of domestic oppressions, ensnared by profit-driven institutions until their presence becomes a burden greater than any gain.


I recount their narratives, the sagas of my comrades, and the multitudes akin, yearning for discernment beyond the confines of prejudice and misconception. Instead, behold a veteran bereft of sanctuary, an afflicted soul unaware of solace's haven, and a pregnant young woman, fleeing the scourge of domestic tyranny only to be cast into the streets by a shelter intended to offer refuge. These, dear souls, epitomes of decency and grace, deserve impartiality and reverence. Perhaps, in unison, we shall taste the bittersweet fruit of collective survivor's guilt and reshape the chronicle.


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