Catherine Weiskopf shares the story of the first time she met Mary Wilson. You can help support affordable housing by joining us in our Habitat for Humanity build. Click here to learn more.
Ice was forming on the streets and trees as we waited in the Starbucks in Denton for the woman we were interviewing. We had seen pictures of Mary in the Denton newspaper which chronicled her homeless-to-housing story. When a woman walked in and scanned the crowd, we assumed it was her even though this woman looked at least 10 years younger. Living on the street has a way of aging you and having a house has a way of making you look and feel younger.
Mary Wilson was homeless on the streets of Denton for 13 years, and has been living in a house since June 2016. She had suggested we meet at the Starbucks in Denton because this Starbucks had given her ice on hot days and meals every Wednesday and Thursday night when she was homeless. As the camera rolled, Mary shared with us what it was like to survive on the street for so many years and the blessings of now having a home. As she did, I was struck by the fact that I had experienced some of what she had, but never without knowing if relief would come.
I have had nights where I can't fall asleep, but she had months in the summer where exhaustion was constant, because sleep was impossible until the oppressive heat in her tent broke each night.
I have gotten wet in a rain storm, but never without the ability to go home and slip into something dry.
I have been hot when sitting in the 100 degree heat at a soccer game, but never without a cold drink and knowing that our air-conditioner would provide relief soon.
Shivering in the cold, I have always known I would soon be home in my warm house.
I have been hungry, but never without knowing where my next meal would come from.
I have also been scared for my safety, but never worried that receiving money for food would make me a target for being robbed.
What's it like to be homeless? What are the benefits of having a home? I invite you to watch this 5 minute video of Mary as she shares her life then and now.