The young man needed work and was willing to go door to door to ask. He said “I need the money so I won’t have to sleep on the streets. It’s really hard to find a place to stay when you’re on your own”. I could feel my throat tighten. Such a simple request, yet I had no answer. It is the dead of winter and I have no work to offer. I don’t have spare cash to give him. He thanks me for listening and walks away. I feel something inside me stir – I need to be doing more. But what?
There is so many things missing in our communities today…especially related to our ability to support ourselves and other. With all of the political talk of cutting programs, “making America great again”, and sending people back, we are disjointed and disconnected like never before.
I have always been one to take action, especially when it comes to other. But I find myself at a loss for the shear number of people – in need, in places of harm, in difficulty – with little or no support. Some exist on a global level of despair (Syria, Hati), others suffer quietly right here in my neighborhood. So what does one do? The only answer that I can come up with is to become engaged – to take action on any level possible.
What does this action look like? We can get involved in local agencies of change (Kitchen Angels). We can take action with our spending habits (support local). We can give our time in mentoring or coaching. We can protest or advocate against causes that deplete our planet or our existence. Something, if anything, to re-establish our bond to one another.
Whether it’s protecting the environment, or the rights to vote, at some point, we must awaken from our slumber. We must sacrifice something of ourselves for the greater good of others. We must be selfless. We must become more fearless in our willingness to stand up and be heard.
To take action.
I still reflect back on that conversation with the young man, asking myself what I would do differently today if he was to return. What could I offer him that would have made a difference? A big question that can only be answered by my actions in the moment. A question that continues to haunt me until I have the opportunity to redo myself.
This however I do know; there are no shortages of opportunities.