I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light….
[excerpt from “Darkness” by Lord Byron]
Lord Byron’s imagery resonates clearly for many of us at this time of year, a time of short days and long, dark nights. Some fly the coop for sunnier, warmer climes; some spend more and more time before their sun-lamps, staving off the effects of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder); some curl up with a good book and a warm cat, awaiting the sun’s return.
I have never minded our annual hemispheric plunge into winter’s darkness. I have always relished the stereotypical pleasures of “hearth and home” and the blessing of enjoying a warm, brightly-lit home on a dark and cold night is one I do not take for granted.
Which is precisely why I need to remind myself of those whose circumstances deny them those most basic of necessities: shelter, warmth and food. If the homeless on Cape Cod are barely seen during the hustle and bustle of our busy tourist scene, in winter they virtually disappear from our consciousness.
At the forefront of efforts here on Cape to address the needs of the homeless and to prevent homelessness is the Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC), an organization that has worked for forty years to meet human needs in our towns.
What does HAC do?
HAC offers a continuum of housing services and solutions that evolve with the changing needs of the community.
HAC provides emergency shelter and homelessness prevention assistance for individuals and families; Administration of the largest housing subsidy in our region; Family self-sufficiency and employment services.
HAC educates, trains and counsels with HAC’s consumer education department; weatherizes and conducts energy rehabs for low-income and market-rate properties; develops affordable housing for seniors, families and individuals; and provides an opportunity to become a homeowner with a full-service nonprofit real estate office.
HAC serves people of all ages, races, ethnicity and income levels.
Our congregation has been a proud and active supporter of HAC through the decades. On Wednesday, December 10, from 4:00 – 9:00 PM when HAC holds its annual “Shelter Cape Cod Telethon”, I will have the privilege of performing my original song, Home, as part of the televised entertainment for that fund-raising event.
I urge you to tune in to the telethon that evening on your local community-access cable channel and to make a generous pledge…not to “curse the darkness” but, rather, to bless the work of HAC that brings the light of compassion into the lives of our needy neighbors.
Learn more about the telethon, and how you can help out, at this link: