Friday, August 10, 2007

july just posts

justpostjuly2007
I had a whole other topic to write about this month and believe it or not it was about something other than homelessness. But then I saw something yesterday at the shelter and I can't stop thinking about it. I had headed outside to get a coke from the roach coach. The only other customer was an elderly client, a guy who has a few physical ailments. I am not sure what is wrong but he doesn't hear very well and shakes quite a bit and is rather frail. As I got my coke his order came up. Burger and fries. He said he'd been looking forward to this burger all week and offered me a fry. I took him up on it and he called me a pretty young lady and I admired his shirt.

I walked back over to the door and stopped to sit outside and make a call. I saw the old man sitting on a curb a ways away. He's hunched over that curb carefully eating his burger, alone in the sun and for a second my heart cracked a bit at his smallness. A couple of men walked out of the shelter, men I didn't recognize. One of them threw something at the old man and hit him in the head. He dropped his burger on the ground and looked up and then quickly down. I started to rise up and head over, angry. I was so angry. As I stood up another man ran over and started yelling and hauled off and hit the one who had hit the old man in the face and a fight broke out quickly and was quickly dispensed. While I never condone violence I loved that man in that moment for standing up for someone who could not.

I reach the old man, his burger all over the ground. I sat down to help him and he looked at me and asked what justice is this? with the weariest look I have ever seen. And I was at a loss for words at his homelessness and his lonely meal and his food on the ground and I thought of all of our writing and our appeals for social justice and I wanted to lie on the ground and weep because the futility was overwhelming. But then he leaned over and said I can still eat this, it's not that dirty so don't you worry. And that too made me want to cry and it also made me want to try even harder and do a little bit more for him and for the rest of us because it's up to us to bring kindness and hope and justice to our worlds as much as possible every single day.

So thank you for writing and for caring and for being just in this world.

The Good Writers
BlogHers Act Canada
BlogHers Act
Alejna at Collecting Tokens with Big Fears and Small Hopeful Faces
Cecileaux with Why Don't We Solve Problems? and Street Cents and Uncommon Sense
Chani at Thailand Gal with Something else, No More TV!, Parallel, Acceptable Prejudice, This
isn't about immigration and it certainly isn't about Thailand

Crazymumma with How We Live...
Dana at Principled Discovery with Brand loyalty in the absence of television
Ellie Bee at What Now? with Mommy Guilt
Jen at One Plus Two with To whom it concerns, norma dies, fresh off the lot, and rowing the boat
Jenny and Kevin at Life has taught us with C3: Carbon Conscious Consumer
Julie at the Ravin' Picture Maven with The Law of Natural and Logical Consequences, aka Karma and Is the Internet the Rainbow Connection?
KC at Where's My Cape with An Illness Narrative on Independence Day
Leah at LeahPeah with Mental Health Revolution Health
Maddie at My Little India with Making the World More Personal
Mouse at the Mouse's Nest with Global Warming Wednesday: Strength in Numbers
Pundit Mom with What Kind of President Do We Want?
Sage with Sage goes green
sagefemme at Mommy Blogs Toronto with Incens(ationalized) and One of a Million
Snoskred with Snoskred made 5 Million Dollars online
Stephanie at Speaking Life with Hardship
Susanne at Creative Mother Thinking with Children and Responsibility
Urban Urchin with Mom vs Mom

The Kind Readers
Alejna
Carrie
Chani
Hel
Jen
Jennifer from Faking It
Julie
KC
Kiki
Lawyer Mama
Liv
Mad
Susanne

It's a lovely roundtable considering it's in the middle of summer. Thank you for sitting at our table this month. No burgers on the ground here, not a single one. Mad's back in the just post house and has something going on at her end of the table too so check it out before you go.

119 comments:

slouching mom said...

oh, jen. what a depressing, awful incident. worse because of his age, i think.

this made me really, really sad.

sigh.

Mad Hatter said...

Every second of every day this kind of thing happens. Heartbreaking pain and small gestures of humanity. The trick is to work to improve the ratio.

QT said...

I just don't understand people sometimes. Why hassle someone who is sitting there minding their own business, eating a BURGER for Chrissakes??

I am so glad you witnessed the comeuppance. And thanks, as always, for doing this.

kiki said...

It breaks my heart a lot to read about the burger man and I cried when he said the dirt didn't bother him so much. But thank GOD for that other man, the man that punched the angry dude out - there is some justice even if their life is so unjust.

Aliki2006 said...

That story makes me want to sit here and sob and how unfair and violent people are. Thank goodness you were there...

I'll read through these just posts--I can't wait!

madamspud169 said...

This is the second post I've read about homelessness (I think the other one was yours too) & both have touched my heart & if I haven't cried then the tears have been glistening in my eyes.
Thank you so much for these posts I hope people will read them & think more about how they act towards others.

Janet said...

When I was in university, I volunteered one summer at Oasis, a drop in centre for those suffering from mental illness. It was often discouraging, heartbreaking and, yes, the people using the centre weren't particularly nice to one another.

You do good work, Jen. You do good work.

thailandchani said...

The story just made me sick! There's got to be a special corner of hell for someone who would hassle an old man who wasn't bothering anyone.

But then, unfortunately, not much surprises me anymore.


Peace,

~Ch

RLGelber said...

You touch me every day with your stories.

Kyla said...

Oh, that story. It hurts. People shouldn't have to live like that.

Jennifer said...

I'm just... Just crying here.

urban-urchin said...

why do people treat people like that? it makes my heart hurt.

Kevin said...

Thanks for another thoughtful and poignant post to go along with all the other poignant posts that are part of this month's round up. You do a great job!

flutter said...

I just don't understand. Thank you for your voice here, and over at my place, by the way.

KC said...

I want to buy that man a burger and fries.

Long live the Just Posts (and all that you and Mad do).

Magpie said...

I want to buy him a hamburger. Poor dear. You are a dear kind soul.

Orangeblossoms said...

Painful stuff. Powerful stuff.

The thing that is so striking to me is that this generous, older man wanted to reassure YOU that he hadn't lost everything.... that he could still eat his meal.

Also, that he had any perspective on justice to share at all..... in the moments of his own pain.

I wish I knew him.

Extraordinary....

bgirl said...

ouch, this one hurts.
i am learning so much about life, humility and generosity through your post. thank you.

2 days ago (after 6 months of seeing and lightly chatting with a man who resides on the corner across from my office) i finally walked up, shook hands and introduced myself. he was so taken aback, in a good way. all i could think as i walked away...was what an asshole i've been, that it took that long for me to connect with someone i see almost daily. as i crossed the street a woman roughly my age said, "you should be careful, you just never know with them" now it was me who was taken aback, not in a good way. i didn't know what to say to her. i was offended and felt defensive for him. but all i uttered was a "huh, you don't really know about anyone do you?"
lame...still feel like an ass. what would you have said?

painted maypole said...

What touches me about the story is that the man doesn't get up, doesn't really even get angry. And then he says something to try to make YOU feel better.

what justice, indeed

Beck said...

I hope you got him a new burger.

carrie said...

Kindness is everywhere. But then there's also those people who did that to him. Why?

Why?

Why?

Why?

Thank you for making his day so much better as he sat there. I am sure you kind face kept him from sinking deeper.

Carrie

Lawyer Mama said...

Oh man. That is sad. But it isn't futile as long as someone stands up for him, as long as someone cares.

Amy York said...

Thank you for sharing this, even though it made me sad. :( I hate to think that there are people in this world capable of such mean-ness.

Mrs. Chicken said...

Ugh, that made me cry. The world is so messy and awful, and cruel.

Yet so bright and beautiful and full of goodness, too.

The juxtaposition makes me ache with questions.


Thank you for once again, shining this light on the good.

Oh, Jen. Some days I feel so sad. This is one of them.

Jocelyn said...

I want you to write a television show that will reach the masses with these stories. Damn.

And I find I do condone violence in certain situations. This was one of them.

hel said...

Your story made me cry.

Last night I said to F I'm starting to wonder whether poor people are being turned into an industry for people who no longer want to work in an office. Maybe me wanting to do this work is just a cop-out.

Reading this reminded me that there is no such a thing as poor people, there are individuals who deserve to eat their burger with dignity. And there are people who are struggling to create a space where everyone can reach their full potential and feel glad to be alive.

Your words has given me back my will to fight. Your heart inspires mine.

My heart is reaching out for a hug. I love you sister.

Julie Pippert said...

It distresses me on so many levels when I hear a story like that. I know the man found grace through your kindness and the other person's defense, so there three goods. But the perpetrator of cruelty, that's one pretty bad bad. And why? Why is he as he is?

Is he like a young child, lashing out in pain, thinking it can be transferred through hitting? Lacking words or power to deal with his trouble?

In other words, can he learn to be otherwise?

Did hitting him teach him anything?

Or is the man unsalvageable, just cruel and evil, his hope point passed long ago?

Is that possible?

I often wonder...

Julie
Ravin' Picture Maven

Seattle Mamacita said...

i know how you feel the infutility of it all can be maddening but i always think that those small kind deeds do shake up the universe and do have the power to create a chain of events that we are often unaware of...

Redneck Mommy said...

Damn it Jen. You made me cry.

I'd much rather lust after you, but I will gladly weep with you and hope that oneday, the world will be better.

ewe are here said...

Heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking.

And, well, I'm glad the guy slugged him. Really.

thailandchani said...

Jen, I tagged you. :) I know you are not a big fan of memes.. but I hope you'll come by and see. Maybe you'll decide you'd like to do it.


Peace,

~Chani

nomotherearth said...

I am absolutely appalled by the smallness of some people.

biodtl said...

I'm not a fan of violence either, but that was a FAR more deserved punch than my crackhead vs batgirl escapade.

kim said...

You know Jen, I am always amazed at how small kindnesses, like yours to the man, can combat the ugliness of the world.

Stephanie said...

I am crying at the ugliness of that moment.

And I am cheering for the beauty of your attention to that man.

My heart is with you both.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Jen ~ This is my first time seeing one of your "Just Posts" labels...what constitutes a just post?

hamiam said...

I know I'm late to the commenting party, but are we kindred [blogging] spirits? I hate that this happened, but am so glad that you were there with the burger man and that he wasn't alone in this incident.

PunditMom said...

You certainly know how to keep me grounded and keep me thinking about why we need to keep working to help those like this poor man. And thank you, again, for the kind award for my post. This is an award that really means a great deal to me.

Ruth Dynamite said...

You are their voice, Jen. A loud, clear, beautiful voice.

Sober Briquette said...

that makes me cry.

I'll be back to read the links, I'm nearly caught up with the other stuff.

Susanne said...

"But then he leaned over and said I can still eat this, it's not that dirty so don't you worry. And that too made me want to cry and it also made me want to try even harder and do a little bit more for him and for the rest of us because it's up to us to bring kindness and hope and justice to our worlds as much as possible every single day."

Well, as much as possible. At least we're trying here. Thank you again for doing this.

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