Where Mercy and Truth Meet: Homeless Women of Wheeler Speak, is a work of literature and art, created with honesty and heart, by women whose voices haven’t always been heard — women who have found themselves in the desperate circumstance of homelessness.
The anthology is published by INwords, the publishing arm of the Indiana Writers Center, and edited by Darolyn “Lyn” Jones, who directs the IWC’s Memoir Project. During the summer of 2015, the IWC partnered with the Wheeler MissionMinistries Center for Women and Children to sponsor a project centered on the untold stories of the women seeking help in their shelter.
The Indiana Writers Center believes that everybody has a story worth telling,” Jones said, “and our Memoir Project is designed to help people of all ages and background to tell theirs— especially those who voices aren’t usually heard.”
According to Wheeler officials, the fastest growing segment of the homeless population consists of women and mothers with children.
Under the direction of Jones and others from the IWC, each of the women found a place to find her “voice,” to tell her story of struggle, heartbreak and hope through the written word. Each also gained the confidence to share her experiences of abuse, loss, life on the streets and addiction, as well as faith and hope for a better future.
An older woman told of her dream of having a home again:
I just want to live the rest of my life the best I can, in a house with a bed, with a cat I can call my own. I want to cut the grass and plant some flowers and have a small garden. I want to stay at home and crochet. I want a place to bake cookies for my grandchildren and watch them play. That’s what I hope for. Someday.
A young woman recalled the root of her homelessness:
Life has never been easy for someone like myself. Each year felt like I was being dragged into a deeper form of Hell. It started the day that my father left; I was only three.
“We invite readers in to this very special book,” Jones said.