for me, right after i was released from the hospital after trying to starve myself to death, i ended up homeless. I was kicked out of two homeless shelters, one was run by the city and was over crowded, then other was run by a catholic church charity, and i was ‘too dirty and was acting possessed’
I was trying to sleep outside of a laundromat, using the dryer vents to keep warm (it was December, a few days before Xmas). A man came up to me and asked me if i was ok. I never got that man’s name, but he was dressed is a robe a scarf like something id never seen. (a hijab) He helped me to my feet, ignoring the filth of four weeks with no shower, and no change of clothes to be had. He helped me carry my stuff and took me to the ‘bad part of town’. In a building that had at one time been a community outreach center there was now a sign a crescent moon type thing that many people now associate with 9/11.
Inside i was down on the floor, on a soft mat, and the man talked to another man who was done up really nicely, but not in away that denoted wealth, more like, he as very clean, and his clothing reflected some kind of purity. He was Imam Abdiah (not sure on spelling) They let me use the showers there, got me some clothing to wear (a strange robe that was VERY comfortable) and gave me a blanket and mat of my own. The Imam taught me about the Muslim Faith, he told me how long he been a cleric, about his time both over in Iraq and in his time here in the US. He talked to me in the middle of the night when i had nightmares, he talked me to in the day when i saw things that were not there.
This man, who was of a faith so often called ‘brutal’ and ‘filled with hatred’ was one of the kindest people i have ever known. For three months i lived in a Mosque, the people were kind, some families brought food to me and the Imam, i developed a taste for the spicy rice dishes of the middle east, and garnered many laughs when i offered to help a woman with washing dishes when i visited their home. They did not judge me for my mental illness, even though it was so obvious at the time. They never once tried to pressur me into joining their faith. And when they were finaly able to help me get my meds and i turned around, they told me they never wanted me to join them, they only wanted me to understand that not all Muslims are killers.
Your story does not have to religious, but this story is one of my favorites to tell people, because one, it is real, and two i never felt more respect from a total stranger than i did when i was living in that Mosque.