Recently, I sat next to a young woman in the public library whose hacking cough continued the entire time she worked on the computer. I recognized her as a member of the transient community of people who lack housing stability. I knew that she had spent nights outdoor, even during some of the worse winter temperatures.
Yet, I was surprised by her coughing because she somehow seemed to stay above illness despite constant exposure to the elements. Although I often thought about offering her a dollar or two from time to time to help her in her battle to survive the streets, today I felt more compelled to do so. Actually, I felt that using a dollar or two to buy her a bottle of water would have less effect on my wallet and the benefits far outweighed the amount I would give.
I realized then that it was an act of desperation and pity that led me to feel this way. She had to go back into the cold, obviously sick, and I felt that ensuring that she had one more bottle of water to drink would somehow help. This is what often occurs in our world of have and have -nots. It seems that we wait until we are moved by sympathy before we are moved to act on their behalf.
People who are living to survive always need a hand, a dollar, a smile. We should no wait until we are moved by pity to act, but should make it part of our daily conscious awareness that a person we recognize as surviving needs something and should never be ignored. We have to plan to give to those who struggle on our streets. We should not wait until someone is sick or crying or visibly hurt to extend help. The fact is the enormity of help needed from those who have more requires everyone to make a concerted effort to come to the aid of others. It should be part of what we do.
If we all practice giving to those around us in need chances are their numbers may decrease to the extent that we can all enjoy the benefits of this land equally. JUST SAYIN.
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