Skip to comments.He died penniless, but rich with friends
Posted on 10/27/2012 5:22:18 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
It was just before sunrise when Bernie Kern wheeled himself to an outdoor plaza at Laguna Honda Hospital for his usual morning cigarette. He'd been living in the hospital for five years, but four decades of homelessness before that had left him with an enduring affection for the early morning chill and quiet.
The cigarette was done in a few minutes. It was his last.
Kern was found peacefully slumped in his wheelchair just outside the elevator, his heart given out from the long years on the streets.
That was Oct. 9. He was 90.
Having long outlived every relative he knew, there was no family to claim him. The normal city policy in such cases is to cremate him along with other unclaimed indigents, then scatter his ashes into the ocean with all the others on a routine run by a city-hired boat.
.... He was born in New York City, and when he was 8 his father abandoned his mother - who put Kern, his two brothers and one sister into an orphanage. The family reunited when the mother remarried, but the drunken stepfather beat the children.
As a young man Kern worked at Horn and Hardart, the first food service automat in New York and the place where he said he met Fitzgerald. Then came World War II, when he was injured as an Army private in Europe.
...."I'm sure he had PTSD from his time in World War II," said Kelly. "His isolation, not trusting people, inability to cope back in society, refusal of treatment - it all fit."
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
From high on a perch above the commoner comes forth the compassion of a self engrandized liberal who hates the military and those who serve, hates the individual who strives to make his life better, for better or worse but loves to show the non compassionate of the system now controlled by thier own......this cant be right, wait it’s Bushes fault
Heavenly Father why? Why would a veteran have to live lonely and poverty stricken for all these years? What about providing for him out of your riches?
Bernie may have been one of the more content as opposed to being 'happy'.
I've learned a LOT about being content with what I have in my August ... (or maybe September? ) years.
The “noble” bum. Limousine liberals are always telling us “lesser beings” that we should aspire to be like them.
God has a reason for sure.... for me, its an example of all that I have to be grateful for.... so blessed, in so many ways. IT makes me realize that my troubles in life are small. God will care for him in heaven.
well I am livid at God at the moment for all the ways He has not protected the innocent and has allowed the evil to prosper
C’mon, CW. It’s a touching story of humanity. The poor guy had a rough life - abandoned by father, mother putting him in an orphanage with his siblings, mother remarried and the stepfather beat the kids, goes to war in Europe in WW II and gets injured, comes home a wreck, becomes a bum, and spends 60 or 70 years on the streets.
In the end, some caring people at the hospital befriend him, bring him out of a 70 year shell, and he brings some joy to people and kids around him.
How can you not read that and reflect on your own gifts in life and the more unfortunate around us?
shame on you!
Daily (dare I say hourly) there are thousands of stories of humanity but this one makes them feel good about themselves and what they think about the folly of serving your country.
I guess I'm reading a different story or have a different perspective on it. Having worked with the homeless at a Christian-based mission I believe what the Roche family did was a blessing to Mr. Kern - they showed him dignity in life and compassion in death.
How can you be angry with God when bad stuff happens because people aren’t following His Word? :-(
I have a read for you...
Sorry to hear that... I felt that way when my Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer.... then my 8 year old son said something very profound ... “Dad, do you think God is mad at us.... we don’t go to church all the time...a lot of people do bad things and never get in trouble...” and he went on. So your comment begs the question, have we all done enough to protect God. God’s wrath can take a while....remember the dark ages? Just food for thought.... you are in my prayers and I truly hope your anger at God isn’t for the same reasons that I had. God Bless.
Your take on this is mine as well. It kind of reminded me of the essays Joseph Mitchell wrote for the New Yorker for 30 years. He interviewed Bowery Bums and other marginal characters and presented them at face value. “Here’s a life unlike your own, but, I’m willing to bet, you will have occasional flashes of recognition.”
He allows the rain to fall on both the good and the wicked. He allows us a free will to choose how we live. Believe me, I know how easy it is to shake your fist at God. In the last six months, my wife has left me and I’ve been laid off after seven years with the same company and I am still not working. Lawyers have eaten up the severance package that I received. I may lose the house and have to declare bankruptcy and our two puppies may have to go to the Humane Society.
Is life unfair? For sure, however, we can CHOOSE not to be angry at Him. We can choose to accept that God has given us free will and that people often make choices that hurt others.
Most importantly, He gave us His Son, so that whomever believes in Jesus, will spend Eternity with the Father. No tears, no pain, no suffering with Him in Eternity. Those who do NOT choose to follow Jesus, will spend Eternity away from the Father, where there is no good and no hope, for ever. I pray that you choose wisely, as we never know when we may leave this existence.
Well, I thought it was/is a beautiful story.
Good luck with that carrying you through life.
I agree with you. Every small community has someone like him and the people around him usually adopt him. The guy in our community is called “Radio.” It is always good as a society that we show an affection for people like him.
Well, what have you done with the blessings God gave you to protect the innocent and keep the evil from prospering?
“Heavenly Father why? Why would a veteran have to live lonely and poverty stricken for all these years? What about providing for him out of your riches?”
The Almighty’s purposes are not always for us to know, although my opinion is that He puts people here in bad circumstances to remind us believers that He has purposes for us, that are not our own. That, and as His kingdom is not of this earth, neither are His rewards, and I would think this man will be received kindly by the Lord for whatever service was rendered.
-——Why would a veteran have to live lonely and poverty stricken for all these years? -——
The fact he was a veteran does not preclude the fact (not possibility) that he was just lazy.
God really had nothing to do with it and certainly should not be blamed
Uh... sounds to me like his heart gave out because he was 90.
Then when bad things happen, you are told either that this is what God wants, or that He doesn't choose to interfere at this time because withholding action will supposedly lead to a better outcome eventually (when people finally learn to please Him.)
That the innocent are ground up in the process of people learning to please God then suggests to you that God's top priority must be teaching people to please Him, and therefore that is the only thing that is good.
Finally it occurs to you that your view of good--that which benefits humanity--is not compatible with the religious view of good--that which pleases God. At this point you either abandon your own views and masochistically submit to the idea that we are nothing but toys for the pleasure of an infantile, selfish God, or more likely... such a God could only be the creation of infantile, selfish minds who created Him in their own image.
That's when you realize the whole story is made up, like Santa Claus, there is no one up there, and the whole story came out of the Middle East anyway (there's your first clue).
Now there'll be about 30 attacks on me and people pinging the moderator to get me banned. ;^)
I would have put it the other way around - "Compassion in life and dignity in death" but I agree with your point.
I've been around too many elderly people who, either have no family or more likely, have a family that just doesn't care. I'm talking about older folks in nursing homes. I did some volunteer work in one when I was in college. Many there are starved for attention, just wanting someone to talk to, a hand to hold etc.
“Ye have not because ye ask not.”
And being livid at God will solve sooooo many problems, right? He made you to protect the innocent and fight evil. Go to a homeless shelter and help a veteran. See Jesus in his face. It’s a lot more effective than whining on the internet.
Lazy? Why, because he chose not to amass wealth and riches like you?
I dare say that the hardships he endured in his life probably made him a better man than you........
Lazy? Why, because he chose not to amass wealth and riches like you?
I dare say that the hardships he endured in his life probably made him a better man than you......and the positive effect he had on these total strangers in his end years proves that out.
Nah..... He just chose to opt out of the world rather than be a participant. He chose to essentially do nothing.
That is his choice but the root of the decision is basic laziness.
Laziness is the root of liberalism
In the small town I grew up in in northern Michigan we had a a guy like that. People only knew him as "termite".
In talking about him recently with a couple friends, nobody knew anything about him other than the fact that he drove around in an old vintage Rolls Royce and parked it next to his old house that was sided with tar paper. One day the house burned down along with the Rolls and termite moved into a city owned house along with several other unknown homeless men.
In my home town, his name was Buster. Dad always made a point to talk with him. Buster had a very similar life, but was a very joyful man. Dad said Buster accepted his life, and woke up thankful each day. When he died, there was a display with his bike and stuff at the local museum.
It is a great story... however the cynic in me wonders if they’re just warming up the inevitable “homeless stories” for the next administration. Publishing this lets them off the hook so to speak...” We sure did do homeless stories during the Obama admin.”
yeah I know it won’t solve anything, but I can’t help it. I am upset with God.
Now as for helping, I am. And if I weren’t I wouldn’t see so many things that madden me.
So, if you are feeling awful, hopefully no one like you will come along and give you some “get out there and help” high and mighty pontification. Hopefully someone somewhere will give you exactly what you need, which I doubt would be a slap in the face.
yeah shame on you too for being mean
yeah well many times the bad stuff is happening because people refuse to follow His Word and follow their false leaders, but many times there are innocents who are following His Word that are suffering too. Like that little girl that got murdered for her bike, that other little girl in CO............etc
I am fighting the battle for truth every single minute of every day and doing spiritual warfare as well, in case you really want to know.
It is a heavy load, but at least I am not merciless to the suffering
If you’re angry with God, it’s exctly a slap in the face that you need. Why? Because being angry with God is a HUGE waste of time.
believe me, I have had all those thoughts but keep coming back to His promises.
You couldn’t possibly bear what I have
My point is that we blame God for things when He gave us the tools to help him with the fight. I get tired of hearing people blame God when so many of us stand on the side lines and do nothing for ourselves.
wrong and very presumptuous of you
well then I suppose I should thank you for your “help”
“..but keep coming back to His promises.”
Amen to that. I was trying to find that verse on Jacob wrestling with the angel. But another one also came up that alluded to a previous post, about wrestling with spritual powers and things not of this world. (As if the crap the world throws at us isn’t enough!)
Our pastor said something about the Psalms that is very helpful to me - something like the first part of a Psalm says something about mankind or the world as it is. (How long oh Lord will my enemies prevail?.....Why have you deserted me....). And then the second part of the Psalm is about God. (But you will not forsake me..., etc.) Heck, if David can get pissed at God so can I.
The same pastor was just saying how he was praying awhile back, and ranting at God about something. After awhile he said he heard “a still small voice” that said “Do you love me?” Not the answer that he was looking for, and completely off topic, but he stopped and smiled and said “Yes, of course”. And realized that was what mattered. (And in turn I imagine realizing that God loves him as well).
I think that God would rather have you yell and scream and rant at Him in prayer than to just walk away. There is some other verse somewhere that talks about struggling and hashing out scripture in order for the Spirit to give you the meaning.
Prayers for you in your troubles.
thank you, same to you