So, are you curled up, warm, cozy, snuggled in and able to find respite from the bitter cold that is gripping so much of the United States right now? Maybe you are lucky enough to be relaxing in front of a fire in the fireplace. Perhaps you have a pet close by. Maybe you just are thrilled that the heat is working, your pipes haven’t frozen and you are inside! So, I have a question.
Where is your “brother”, your “sister” human being that is homeless, sleeping on the street? Where is the family that lives in a car because they have lost everything else? What about the child who ran away from home and is on the street? What about the veteran who finds himself with nothing but the clothes on his/her back? What about the animals? What about all of them…they that have no home, no heavy coat, no warm boots, no safety, no food, no shelter, no caring. There but for the Grace of God goes each of us.
Yes, personal responsibility enters into the equation. Choices, decisions, beliefs all help shape who we are and who we become. However, sometimes bad things happen and we have to deal. That could mean someone spent 10, 20, 30, 40 years as contributing members of society only to find themselves down and out today.
Lately I’ve been questioning myself about who I really am…on a deep basic level. On one hand, I know I’m a good person, thoughtful, kind, caring, compassionate. On the other, I realize that I have judgements, opinions, beliefs that serve me and serve to keep me feeling safe.
Due to a debilitating, chronic illness, I came dangerously close to being one of those homeless souls. So, on one hand, I find myself very compassionate about the plight of those out there tonight, worried about them, caring what happens…all from the safety of my warm home. On the other hand, I shy away from thinking about it too deeply because it is so scary to me. I remember the panic of wondering what I was going to do…how I was going to live, where I was going to live, how, how, how. I know they, too, have felt that at some point, probably in the not-to-distant past. Many may have moved beyond that to the point of numbness and one foot in front of the other…survival.
I want to ask each of you to really think about this. I have. I want to say I don’t know what to do, but I also recognize that I have to do something. I have to honor that we are all one…human beings having an experience on this planet at this time. What are we doing to really SEE each other? I can’t feed and clothe every homeless person, fight all the ugliness in the world, save every frozen pet. But I must do something to acknowledge and honor them as fellow humans…even if they aren’t very nice ones. Tonight, what I know to do is to share my thoughts and feelings so that hopefully I can make others think and, more importantly, look into their own hearts and ask some of the hard questions. What are you doing to really see these souls?