Anna Stamenova, above right, took part in Sleep Out in the Square 2018 with her daughter

How happiness led to helplessness and finally enlightenment

Posted 21 November 2018

Taking part in the Sleep Out was an experience I fully enjoyed. It was fun, and I had a good few hours of sleep. I felt like I was in a big camping place because it was very well organised, quite clean and we had security. What a pleasure to feel safe and relaxed! And what a treat to wake up in the morning and have the most delicious bacon sandwich with a freshly made cup of coffee!

However, on the way home, it suddenly struck me after seeing real homeless people: my experience is not what they feel and see every night and day after day.

Even with all the enthusiasm I had felt, it is still something I would never want to wish upon anyone for more than a night. 

The next morning

With a smile still fresh on my face, I felt sadness in my heart and tears in my eyes. I felt helpless, I felt pain, I felt sorry for the people sleeping rough in the cold and wet weather, in the terrible conditions, having their own possessions held tightly next to them.  They are alone in the dark and unfriendly streets, not able to relax, not able to eat properly -- sometimes for days.

After further reflection, the feelings of despair turned into something else. We are the blessed ones, I thought. We have a home, a place to leave, we are able to have food and take a shower. We are the lucky ones! That was what I felt: lucky. 

While some may not see any hope, I believe hope is here, God is here, and He sends us to help.

 

St Luke's Church Chelsea team members Jane, Alicia, Anna's daughter and Anna took part together

A new understanding

This is what I came to understand: God chose me and all of us who went on the street to make a difference for homeless people and to bring Hope and Love and Support. He lets all of us who slept on the street (for one night only), experience and better understand how difficult the life is for so many people. He sends us to make a difference.

Anna Stamenova
Children's Ministry Administrator
St Luke's and Christ Church, Chelsea


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