Saturday, March 10, 2007
I don't know if homelessness exists in every city in the states, but I am going to assume it exists in most. I often watch other people's reactions when walking by someone who appears to be homeless. Some pick up the pace and stare straight ahead. Some look at the person and offer some sort of smile, a compassionate something or other. Spare change. Some folks are cruel, get a job.
What I know is that it's hard enough to be in this situation without other people passing judgment. What I know is that each one of these men and women are in a difficult place. What I know is that for the grace of god go I.
It's easy to feel helpless. The reality is there isn't much you can do in the moment to assist someone in this situation - it's more about legislation and policy to get at the big picture, anyways. But the one thing you can do is be kind.
Kindness matters. Taking a moment to look the person in the eye, to offer that inconsequential bit of spare change, to exchange a few words. It matters. It makes one feel human.
Imagine if everyone avoided you, all day every day. Imagine if you felt invisible. Alone. And on top of that, you slept in a doorway.
If you have a moral objection to offering spare change, I can understand that. It doesn't work for everyone, and I am not saying it has to. I don't always have money to give. But if I don't, or if I just don't want to, I still answer them. I'll look the person in the eye and respond. I won't just ignore their pleas. I also realize you need to be mindful of personal safety, and if a situation ever feels sketchy, no one is asking you to channel Mother Teresa. But more often than not, it's not fear that makes us look the other way.
Because if I was the one pleading, I'd want to be answered.
I realize there is more to this, and not everyone has the same views on personal and social responsibility. That's ok. We don't have to agree and this doesn't need to be a dissertation about the right way to deal with this societal crisis. God knows I carry on enough about the societal implications of the lack of truly affordable housing.
But I think we can agree that kindness matters, moreso in those moments when it is least expected. And for the grace of god go we. If we all can stand being a bit more uncomfortable, I wonder how much more comfort we can share.
This month's Roundtable is terrific. So many beautiful and passionate voices about so many different issues. You all made me think a bit harder this month. And made me want to try a little more. And don't forget to walk over to Mad's end of the table too.
Those who spoke:
KC with how does your garden grow
Alice at And She Wrote with several posts all linked with the tag About Human Rights
Julie went social justice crazy this month...all of her posts are linked via this portal post but we've also picked a couple of whamdoodles to highlight here, including
think it's your body, your choice? and parenting prison
Sin with looking closely and langa means sun
Alejna with grammaticality judgments
Sass with i will never leave you
Green Parenting with ten reasons
Joy with it's still tits
Mouse with on marriage
Mouse keeps rocking it with her Global Warming Wednesdays: Pulling our Heads out of the Sand; Valentine's Edition; Mouse the Vampire Slayer; and Polar Opposites
Slouching Mom with they never expected this
Amber with happy looooove day
Deb with connectedness
Chani with social justice on line safety
Jill with commentary
Andrea with mrs. jellyby
Ann with playing with fire
Danigirl with code blue for daycare
Jess with cary and isaac
Hel with i dream a better future
Antique Mommy with Good Nurse, Bad Nurse
Jory DesJardins of Pause with On Dying Well
Those who listened:
Susanne at Creative Mother Thinking
Mouse at The Mouse's Nest
Alejna at collecting tokens
KC at wheres my cape
Kari at katronika
Kiki at sticking to the point
Kat at mama tulip
Andrea at athena dreaming
Mad at Under the Mad Hat
Jen at one plus two
Join us next month. If you write or read about social justice in it's various forms, send it our way. We'd love to have you join us around the fire. We are officially now part of The Whole Mom
webzine as well, and we look forward to more voices joining us in the future.