The People We Don't See
Failing to see others
Years ago I was in beautiful Southern California, excited to see friends, go to the beach, and absorb California life. I stepped off the plane excited and happy to be in a culture rich environment surrounded by people that move when the light turns green. Anyhow - I immediately rented a vehicle and began running a few errands before I was scheduled to start seeing my friends.
I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. Upon picking up a few things when I made it to to the register I realized I didn't have a discount card. The lady behind me that had a little girl volunteered to use her card so I could get the discount pricing -sweet. I observed she was only buying 1-2 things. One of the items I glanced was a discount package of ground beef but in my rush to run around town I didn't pay too much attention. Since she was nice enough to let me use her card I volunteered to pay for her few items thinking nothing of it. She was so thankful and appreciative. I told her no problem as I thanked her for helping me. As I went to my car, I glanced and noticed the lady and her daughter walking slowly to the front of the grocery store. So in my own world it was inconceivable, until I pondered later, that the lady and her daughter may have posted outside perhaps in an effort to ask for help. Of course at the time I wasn't thinking about the face that one of the only items they purchased was a discount package of meat. It donned on me that no one really goes grocery shopping to pick up one item and a discount package of meat, most likely this woman and her daughter were really struggling perhaps even homeless. It bothered me later on that I didn't realize this and did not do more to help her and her daughter. It wouldn't have killed me to give her $20 so she and her daughter could at least have more food or help them to get someone else they needed. Looking back now I realized why the lady was so thankful and appreciative of something so small.
Can you see?
How many people do not see that are walking among you?
How many people do you not acknowledge or see everyday in your rush to go to work or head to dinner or rushing out the grocery store?
Are we so self-absorbed sometimes that we become blind to the needs of others?
Where God Left His Shoes
The reasons why we ignore rather than engage
There are many reasons why we may ignore the needs of those struggling. Some of us can't afford to give because we are hurting ourselves. Some of us are aware that money can easily be exchanged by the recipient for drug use or alcohol which is no the intention of the giver. Some of us can't look into the eyes of those homeless because we want to quiet our demons of truth – that too could be you. John Bradford - “There but for the grace of God go I.” Perhaps if we don't acknowledge the fate of the homeless we don't have to acknowledge what could happen due to a series of unfortunate incidents or series of actions perhaps out of our control. Perhaps to justify not helping we can appease ourselves by placing the blame on the homeless person with a series of thoughts of what that person should have done to avoid that condition. Perhaps we convince ourselves the person must have somehow put themselves in a position to be homeless.
Sometimes people are homeless because of financial or life choices, other times circumstances occur that are out of their control. What could happen to you if you lost your job, had no family, couldn't get financial assistance?
The fool reported in 2016 that the average American has less than $1000 in their savings account.
Think about that. If you have an apartment and lose your job, it doesn't take long to be evicted if you can no longer management car insurance, car note, rent, utilities, food, and bills let alone try and support a child.
Helping in Another Way
Perhaps people feel the way to contribute and help may be on another level perhaps volunteering to teach others life skills, provide help at a shelter, or perhaps mentor others so they may avoid pitfalls in life. Maybe you believe in the 'each one teach one' philosophy and help others that way. Many people have been through something in their lives and rather than bury that situation because you want to forget, overcome that obstacle by helping others to overcome it as well. Perhaps the drug addict or alcoholic that became homeless weren't able to overcome their situation but your life could be hope.
Sometimes people are homeless because of financial or life choices, other times circumstances occur that are out of their control. Did you overcome drug addiction, rape, molestation, poverty, alcoholism, daddy issues, mommy issues, physical abuse, mental abuse, imprisonment or otherwise? Your story can help someone else to overcome issues that may cripple them or bring them to poverty. Your story can help someone overcome their criminal past and be successful. (http://www.businessinsider.com/ryan-blair-is-a-former-gang-member-turned-multimillionaire-entrepreneur-2012-8)
In 2017 please make a commitment to do just a little bit to help someone else along the way in whatever way you desire.