belief systems / post2014 / post365 / speaking tree

Choosing Not To Look Away

Choosing not to look away,
Last Sunday Janet Attwood was at Goa, she gave us the passion test, and my partner was a young boy in standard eight. One of his passions was to Help The Homeless.
I was quite amused. Yet here is what he had to share. “They are not there because they choose to be there, they are there because of circumstances.” Some of them are victims of poor planning or some crisis. Some are mentally ill. Some addicted to drugs or alcohol, maybe if we went through what they did we would be homeless too.
I asked him, (still feeling very amused and superior) how will you go about it. Here is his sharing. I will accept them as an equal, not as if they are below me because they are homeless. Then I will learn about the services in our area, and share locations of food banks, shelters and other things.
“Food banks?”
“I don’t know what else to call it, like the Gurudwara where everyone is given food without having to pay for it. But I will donate to the Gurudwara so they are supported too.”
I was really humbled by this middle schooler who taught me two lessons, one in respecting the other and one in sharing.
Homeless people in our communities are fact of life, particularly in big cities. We really don’t know how to handle this. We oscillate between feeling guilty, responsible, angry as if they were entirely responsible for the situation and sometimes even superior. Eventually we get into the habit of not responding simply because we do not know how to respond at all. We look over their heads, we do not make eye contact and each time we experience a disconnect from the human fabric.
Probably most of us know in our hearts that the homeless and poor not really different from us. we also understand circumstances could put us there, but that did not definitely mean that we are meant to rescue them for they are on their own learning path, what we could do was treat them as equal after all that’s what we are. We could look them in the eye and share that moment of humanness. Give them a simple blessing.

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