While in a parking lot yesterday, I came across a woman.
I was sitting in the car when I noticed that she was standing a bit away from my window. I rolled the window down and smiled.
She was sunburnt, her lips were blistered and she looked weary and sad. She apologized for possibly startling me and then her lower lip started to tremble. She wondered if it would be possible to help her. She was trying to buy a bus ticket to Placerville to go to a women’s shelter.
As she asked, tears formed in her eyes. Her hands shook as she kneaded them together. I smiled and gently tried to reassure her that I was not frightened or upset. I let her know that I didn’t have much cash, but what I did have I would willingly give to her.
She began to thank me, but I stopped her. I told her that it was okay. That there are times in all of our lives where we have to do what we must and there is no shame in it. She smiled at me and I could see a bit of relief in her eyes.
As she began to back away I put my hand outside the window and told her it was would be okay. Again she smiled, turned and walked off.
But I wondered, would it really?
Was she going to make it to that shelter?
Would her parched lips know liquid?
Would her wounded soul someday be filled with peace and love instead of fear?
I worry lately about finances (as many of us in this economy do). But I have never been alone.
I have always known that my family would be there for me in times of great need.
I have always known love and support.
I would never be homeless.
I would never go hungry.
I would never be on the street.
No one should live on the streets.
Such sadness shouldn’t exist.
Anthropologists will tell you that there are many cultures that don’t understand us. They don’t understand that we “own” land. Land that others can not touch or rest upon. They don’t understand people going hungry when so many have so much. I must say that I don’t understand it either.
Charity starts at home.
I think this is a motto that we, as Americans, need to embrace.
It’s time that we started taking care of our own.
It is time to help those who are afraid, hungry and in need.
Help without humiliation.
Everyone is somebody.
They have a story.
A will to live.
Acknowledge it all. Bring light and love into all of your moments. Be gentle with others, especially those in need.
That is humanity.