By Christine Baker
Nyack, NY, USA
Christine Baker and Jessie
I am that homeless man on the street corner, huddled in a dark mass on the cold pavement. I make a meager shelter from cardboard boxes and other people’s waste. Once, I was a manager of a hardware store. Once I had money in my pocket and my hair was combed and I wore clothes that smelled like summer. You pass by and do not even see me. I am alone in this world.
I am the young girl sitting next to you in class, bullied because I’m different. I’m afraid to use the bathroom because the last time I went into a bathroom, the popular girls followed me. They ripped my clothes, stole my math homework, and punched me three times in the stomach so hard I can barely take a deep breath without crying. You sit next to me and don’t even see me. I am alone in this world.
I am the man standing next you in line at the coffee shop. My wife thinks I am at work and I am too afraid to tell her I was laid off three months ago. Our house is in foreclosure and I have no money left in our retirement account. You stand next to me and don’t even see me. I am alone in this world.
I am the old woman sitting on the park bench, knitting a wool scarf. Even though my hands are riddled with arthritis, I knit because I sell these scarves to help pay rent. I have no one to help me, no one to even notice me. I don’t know how much longer I can survive this way. You look down at me and don’t even see me. I am alone in this world.
Look around you. These are the people you see each and every day. Every one has a story. Every person is struggling with his or her own personal demons. Every one of us has felt alone in this world.
We are not alone. We are together. Here in this place right now.
Don’t ignore someone else’s suffering. It is up to you to help. It is up to you to be kind, to share goodness, hope, love and above all, compassion.
When you are down on your knees in pain and in need, who will be there for you if you are not there for someone else?
Make a choice to make a positive difference in the life of someone. In order to do that, you must act. You cannot stand idly by and ignore the pain and suffering all around you, pretending you are somehow immune to it. Take a stand. Take a deep breath and extend your hand to someone in need, even if it is the unpopular choice. Because doing good isn’t always about looking good.