Last night at about 8:00 I arrived in Phoenix, AZ after a six hour drive from Los Angeles, CA. I drove straight to my brother and sister in law's house on the north side of the city. It's great to be with some family; over the last few months I've become a bit on the lonely side for some familiar faces. Not just familiar faces, but family.
Over the last couple of days I've been thinking about all the people I've met since I've been on the road. There were so many people who would talk about their families and I would just think about how someone could sleep at night knowing that their father or son is out on the streets, occasionally in some bad situations. There are people out there who really don't have any close family members, but there are plenty that do have close family members. Some of the younger people have parents or siblings that would be more than willing to take them in and help them get back on their feet. And for those who don't live near their family, there's a program (often called Homeward Bound) that will pay your way anywhere in the country if there's someone there who will take you in so you can get back on your feet.
So why don't they?
It's not that difficult to empathize with; at least that's my opinion. Most adults want nothing more that to be able to take care of themselves, and as hard as it is to live off of food given at shelters and kitchens, it's a much larger hit to your ego and self esteem to be taken care of by your parents or siblings. Many other ones are very much like the Prodigal Son, meaning that their family loves them and wishes they could see them, but honestly have no idea where they are, or what their living situation is.
It's sad that it's that way, but in many cases our damning pride is stronger than our desire to live normally.