Have you ever really looked at people? Not at their beauty or their clothes, have you ever really LOOKED at someone? Looked in their face to gauge the pain that furrows their forehead. Stared into their eyes and into the murky shadows of uncertainty. Gazed at their mouth and the sadness that brackets lips that were made to smile.
Have you once today stopped to consider how someone else is holding it all together? Did you pay attention to the tightness in their voice, the stiffness in their gate, the lack of luster in their countenance?
I am going to take a gamble here and answer for you.
No, you did none of those things.
Because you had work today, or you had a day to do nothing, or you were off having fun, or you were busy with school work.....etc.
We have become a society of avoidance. We don't want to be confronted with something that may make us uncomfortable. We don't want to be confronted with it because if it is exposed to us by the bright lights of reality we may have to actually do something to help someone else in need.
So, today I am going to give you a dose of reality. I am going to force you to look into the mirror into your own eyes that have become empty and devoid of compassion. And, I am going to do that by asking you to read what follows as if it were happening to you.
I am out of options. I am seriously, totally out of options. Not because I have not looked for options, but because I literally have nothing left. I. Have. Nothing. Left.
My house, gone. My family, gone. I have no food. No where to sleep tonight. No hope of finding any place, because I have no one to turn to.
I will eat out of a dumpster tonight because if I don't, I won't eat. I will sleep wherever I can find a place to sleep. I will wake up tomorrow and nothing about my situation will have changed, so I will start the day over with no options, no hope.
And here, in this place, all those things that once seemed so vile seem like a means of survival. Because where I am, if I pay the price, it is not with money. It is with what I do have left.
It doesn't matter when you have nothing to lose. Nothing matters when nothing is all you have.
These are just words. There is no way to evoke that true sense of desperation until you are truly desperate.
And I have never been truly desperate. But, today I felt the depths of desperation from someone who landed face first on the bottom. And the feeling that gripped my heart was overwhelming and devastating. My heart literally broke. Tears fell, and turned to sobs and I felt for the first time in my life complete desperation.
I realized how far my head has been stuck in the sand. My problems are trivial and unimportant compared to someone facing the bottom of the bottom. And I swim around in this big pond full of other bottom feeders, looking for some dirt to suck up and spew out about other people and their circumstances when in reality our own black and selfish hearts are the cushion that breaks the fall when those we have dismissed and ignored hit the proverbial bottom.
By taking my eyes off my own worthless issues and looking into someones action before my reaction to the possibility of being exposed to their problems caused me to look away I FELT.
And, it hurt. It hurt so very bad. It hurt to know where this person went to escape desperation, and it hurt to know that they had reached that point and they were offered no refuge, no help from anyone who passed their way.
Back in the day, we cared about each other. Back in the day, we cared about more than ourselves.
This person will lay down tonight with hope. But, I am afraid there is no hope for this black-hearted generation that has encapsulated themselves in self preservation at the cost of compassion.
I'm not talking about those people who CHOOSE not to make any effort to better themselves or provide for their own needs, yet sit with their hands out saying, "Give me." That is another topic for another time.
I am talking about someone who has been kicked over and over and over and yet makes an effort to rise up and continue on over and over and over. Until one day they are just unable to get back up on their own.
So as you sit in your cozy house tonight with your belly full and your conscience seared, remember......
And, look. Really, really look.