All humans have experienced one common situation during the course of their lives. At some point, whether in a busy metropolitan city such as Boston or New York, in a rural town, or in one’s own community, an individual has come face to face with a critical decision. Thoughts turn into a web of scattered options: “What should I do? I could help. Yes. I don’t want to make a scene. Just keep walking…okay.” We have all seen the homeless, physically present, before our eyes. We have all seen parents nudge their children in the opposite direction. We have all picked up a new conversation to fill the blank slate of guilt that weaves its way into our heads.
Admit it. We all make the internal resolution to “help the homeless.” It becomes our mantra in grammar school, our guiding principle throughout the rest of our lives, and inevitably…a statement that is never actually carried out. In a state where the number of homeless men, women, and children has skyrocketed to a number that shelters are trying to assist, it is not morally sound to sit back when resources can easily be found.
I leave you with words spoken by Maya Angelou, and fitting after her recent passing:
“When the human race neglects its weaker members, when the family neglects its weakest one – it’s the first blow in a suicidal movement. I see the neglect in cities around the country, in poor white children in West Virginia and Virginia and Kentucky – in the big cities, too, for that matter.” Yet, “No one has ever become poor by giving,” Maya Angelou writes. Ponder this for a minute. A luxury vacation will eventually come to an end and sought-after material goods will spoil in the end, failing to deliver any internal satisfaction. But what does it feel like to give out of sheer compassion and acknowledgment? Undoubtedly, the satisfaction of giving lasts a lot longer.