Did I get your attention? Good, because this is important.
I am a huge believer in fairness. I haven’t always been, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the value and deeper meaning to treat everyone the same. I’ve come to accept and love the fact that we are all unique. We all have our special gifts and talents and have our own opinions and takes on the world and everything in it, but something happened the other day that made me realize that I didn’t share this view about everybody.
As I might have mentioned in an earlier post, New Haven has a large population of homeless people and for the most part they keep to themselves and occupy the town green in the wee hours of the morning. When you are walking around downtown though, it’s almost expected that you will come in contact at least once. Well the other day, I was doing just that and up a head was a man on the sidewalk, holding a sign and asking for change and I just walked by. I didn’t smile. I didn’t nod. I didn’t even acknowledge him.
Now, this might seem normal for some, but this just doesn’t seem right to me, it seems like judgement. I think there is a story that if you are homeless you got there because you’ve abused drugs or alcohol or have done something bad, etc. and therefore you now live on the streets. I don’t really know how they got there. I don’t know what’s happened in their life and I don’t know what part of their life they are in now. Maybe they did abuse drugs, but they are begging for money to get themselves clean. Maybe they’ve had a lot of tragedy in their life and they lost the thread on their life in the blink of an eye. Maybe it had nothing to do with their actions at all. I just don’t know and ignoring them won’t help me solve this mystery.
So I started thinking about what I could do. Sometimes I am apprehensive about giving money, because of the afore mentioned situations, but that doesn’t mean I have to just keep walking on by. A smile is free and it can go a looooong way or I once heard a story of a woman keeping bottled water in the car and handing those out. Go into a shop and buy a sandwich or a snack. You can also make a contribution to a local shelter. There are endless possibilities to help without contributing to a habit.
I’m not going to be scared anymore and if I have nothing else to give, I know I can give me smile and that just might be enough.
P.S. Do you have a suggestion or something that you do to help the homeless population? Please share! Leave a comment below! 🙂