What connects us, what keeps us safe and strong and weaves its way along the dark corridors of our conscience when we are alone with our thoughts?
When does the caring start, the thinking of others, the wanting to help them in their distress by not only showing concern, but by doing something, anything, to help?
Are we troubled when we turned a blind eye, said never mind or who cares, it’s not my problem?
Did I stop for the man standing in the cold rain selling magazines saying God Bless you as I walked by thinking, next time, next time when I’m not so busy and rushed, I’ll definitely buy one of his magazines and support a good cause. But then again, he’s probably just a junkie.
Or an alcoholic.
Like the old man sitting alone in his room at the halfway house, hoping nobody will notice that he has sneaked in a bottle of whiskey. Who wants to listen to him anyway, rambling on about his days in the Royal Air Force when he was a medic and when he was a prize boxer, when he was young and fit and handsome. Who cares? He made his choices. Right?
Who is that child who doesn’t have any friends at school because he is mean? Can we afford to judge him and blame it on his home life and his lousy, low-class parents who yell and scream and swear and get drunk at night, never caring that their child is listening and crying?
Not our problem is it, unless it lands on our doorstep.
But we have to make him, them, our problem. We have to make the lonely, the lost, the sick, the elderly, the children who suffer at the hands of their abusers, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the prisoners, the homeless, all of them. Our problem.
We cannot go about our day with a smug grin and say I’m alright. We have to care. But how do we make a difference? How do we save a life?
There was a baby girl, born with her eyes wide open, happy to arrive. She welcomed the world but she learnt that the world did not welcome her. She felt alone and alienated, a foreigner in a strange land that she did not understand and rejected her and bullied her and called her a freak, just because she dyed her hair black and hated parties.
So she took herself away and found her life with friends who did understand, with those who accepted her and cared for her and saw her beauty and her strength, who didn’t insult her because she has Asperger’s Syndrome.
I am a better person because of her.
If we are shown love and compassion, care and concern, surely we then show it to others? How can we not? But we all make our own choices, we decide the path we will follow and ultimately we are accountable for those choices, nobody else.
What though if all we know is rejection, abandonment, betrayal, hurt, and pain? I believe it is still possible to search our hearts and find the way, the only way, through love and compassion, a moment when we can take someone’s hand and lead them out.
But I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I only know what came to me in my darkest hour. Somebody said I’ll take you into the sunshine and I’ll show how to live again. Maybe we can all save a life.
We begin with ourselves. One kiss at a time.
Today, February 20th, 1000 voices speak for compassion.
I am honoured to share one small voice amongst the many.
“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ Matthew 25:45