Be the Cause

Christmas, Year-Round

Yesterday, I received a wonderful gift.  It came in the form of a rose pink scarf with fringes.

The scarf was crocheted by a homeless woman I befriended around Christmas.  Her name is Yvonne and she is currently living in a bus stop.

Before I stopped by and introduced myself on Saturday, December 23rd, I had seen her a number of times at the bus stop, but I never stopped by.  One day, however, as I was driving by, the vision of her sitting at the bus stop crocheting captured me and the vision became painfully obvious at that instant. I realized that I was looking at a woman, living alone, on the street.

At that moment, I felt so bad– Bad because I never noticed her before! I never stopped by because seeing her didn’t have an effect on me… but how could it not, I ask myself now.

Why is it that homeless people in this city become part of the landscape before our eyes? How come our hearts are not touched by the thought of someone going hungry and feeling the bitter cold night air on their backs? When others are in need, how can we often be so insensitive to the pain and their situation? Is it because they are strangers to us?

When we are children, we react naturally to those things which cause us shock.  We’ll ask, “Mommy, why is that lady sleeping on the street?” or “Why is that man asking for money?”  But as we get older we become insensitive for many reasons.  One can assume that if we allow it, the adult heart becomes a bit callous and fearful and will allow the mind to think of a myriad of reasons for why we shouldn’t get involved in what is the other’s “problem”.

I, for one, have thought for a long time that when bad luck befalls you, it is in direct consequence for a bad or selfish action on your part.  Well, this may or may not be true, but I have come to the realization that it is not my place to judge the other.  I guess there is a part of me that knows that I could be that person on the street one day if luck doesn’t smile my way.

Yesterday, Yvonne reminded me to feel hers and my HUMANITY. That is, the condition of being a human being, the way I believe our Creator intended. She is feeling grateful for the little bit of attention I have given her and I, with a full heart, am allowing her to express her humanity by accepting a gift:  a rose pink scarf that was made with heartfelt love and gratitude.

I guess the lesson taught me by my heart yesterday is this: We are beholden to care for our brothers and sisters.  Do not allow a callous heart, with its prejudices, fears and ego, convince you otherwise.  Even the smallest gesture of genuine kindness and attention for the other counts.

We all play a role in our humanity… and not only during Christmas, mind you. After all, when our physical bodies leave this Earth, it is only our humanity that stays behind as our personal legacy and gift to each other.

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2 comments

  • Sukh

    What a beautiful story and a beautiful gesture. As you have allowed your humanity to seep into your life, by sharing your experience with others, you have allowed our humanity to seep back into ourselves. After reading this, the next time we see a fellow brother or sister in need, we will hopefully see them through your eyes.

  • It is odd the way different people view homeless people. I always said: “there but for the grace of god goes me” about homeless people. A large percentage of homeless people were victims of abuse (domestic violence, or sexual assualt as children)or other crimes which lead to their becoming homeless. Veterans of war also make up a lot of the homeless population. Poverty also leads to homelessness. Lack of affordable housing and health care is often the catalyst for losing housing and jobs.

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