Over the last year or so I’ve been in direct contact with people in need—people who have been disenfranchised, forgotten and stigmatized because they for the untold number of reasons or circumstances, do not fit the mold of society.
I’m speaking of people who have lost their job or home, are disabled and those who suffer terribly with mental illness as starters. Some were merely born into a world of violence and drug-addictive parents; abuse or sexual assault…
Young people who never had a chance or a role model that might help steer them towards a constructive direction in life.
Of course it’s easy to imagine the proverbial beggar on the street who bothers our ever-precious time for change. I’ve experienced an entire gambit of emotions wile confronted with such people on the streets over the years—guilt, disgust, empathy and annoyance. There are times when I’ve given gladly and others when I felt like I needed every penny to my name.
But what about the children whose parents have fallen through the cracks and each day, line up at the local soup kitchen, waiting in line to eat food that would otherwise be slated for the landfill?
I do not proclaim to be a wise man, but I know what shame is when I look into these people’s eyes—their dignity in shambles and sense of worth departed from the wholesome existence that they too deserve.
How can we as a society forget those who brave every weather extreme, ask for our help and bless us when we decline?
Why are our backs turned to the elephant in the room while we enrichen our own lives at the expense of other’s endless suffering?
When will enough be enough—when every material and superficial need has been met?
Will we then commence our service to others—to all others no matter their race, creed or appearance?
As I’ve begun my descent into a minimalist’s lifestyle—learning to live with less while having so much more…more time, freedom, happiness and content I have discovered that no matter how little I have and how humbling it’s been getting here, there are still so many with less than I.
There are unsung heroes walking in our midst—the veterans who’ve served our country so that we might explore uninterrupted freedom of interpretation, i.e. speech and religion.
Men and women whose mode of daily operation is by crutch or wheelchair—wearily passed by and ignored by those of us who largely take for granted our able-bodied fortune. We’re able to make all of those simple, every day choices like showering and dressing ourselves or strolling along on our own two feet—something they can now only dream of. Precious memories that fade while their dependence on disability and social security barely meets the necessary costs of their desperate needs.
I’ve observed something powerful amongst these people—these societal outcasts who are shunned and looked down upon by the fortunate classes. Their allegiance to one another, brother to brother and the bonds that are born from the innate suffering that is a part of daily life in unspoken reverence towards one another overall.
Some people wander about in denial and humiliation of their predicament while others thrive with less. The mentally anguished carry about conversations with themselves while eluded by those with seemingly sound minds.
My point here is that there’s no unit of measurement to classify those in need because homelessness, etc. can befall anyone at any time—their lives suddenly (literally) crashing down around them. A car wreck that leaves the perfectly healthy adventurist without use of their legs or mentality to care for themselves; now under hospice, sitting and defecating in their wheelchair—completely dependent upon health care professionals to tend to their every need.
The saint without shelter who freezes to death due to exposure each winter’s passing…
You see, until we widen our scope and include every human in this picture of a unified race, we will all ultimately suffer—a widening unemployment pandemic, resource depletion and perpetual separation of beliefs that sever the ties we inherently rely on to create such a dream.
I’m not suggesting that we ought to quit our day jobs to become philanthropists but a simple smile and acknowledgement to that individual we might all have in mind right now, could make their day just one ounce better—because we’ve shown them that we recognize where they stand in relation to us. We’ve expressed a token of our own humanity and maybe possibly granted them our change or a few dollars so they might do with it what they will—without our attachment to its outcome.
Let the boozer go buy their booze if drinking their sorrows away is what numbs the reality of being outcast—from a civilized world; shunned because they fought alongside fallen brethren only to return home to a fractured system that defiantly and ignorantly cast them out.
I urge you to consider who needs more and what we can live with or without—whether our gains are worth the losses that impinge upon the inalienable freedoms deserving of every man, woman and child no matter their origins or journey through this often times, destitute life.
Selfless acts and service to others is the answer to any question posed as to how we create a new world where our influence as patrons and humanitarians is a lesson unto the children who walk upon this Earth plane today.
They are our elders (our children), our stewards and someday we will rely on the kindness and empathy of those who are more able-bodied and willing than us. Our acts determine our future and the lessons we present to the listening eyes and minds of our youngsters. Lest we forsake where we came from and where we’re headed. I beg you, please remember the forgotten.
“Ho’oponopono.” – I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.