A 5 year-old kid wandered in our office today. By himself. Saying he was hungry. We fed him from all the things we had brought for our own lunches.
Our office is in the projects off Lafayette and yesterday I took a woman grocery shopping. She had fifteen dollars to spend for the next 7 days.
The only “grocery store” w/in walking distance is a disgrace. It had a foul smell, very little fresh food, poor selection and the prices were outrageous. The measly amount of food she was able to purchase made me really, really angry.
The anger, the heartbreak, the seeming endless line of hurting people…this is why this work is so hard for me. And then I think how hard it must be to live that. Year after year.
Surely we can do better.
Even without money or status, we can at least keep our eyes, ears, hearts and hands open. We can fight to keep each other fully human.
I remain convinced, that the most powerful act you can do with your time is to regard another person wholly in their wretchedness, to wince when they get a kick in the kidneys, to brighten when there is cause to celebrate, be a critic without being critical, hold eye contact and be present.
These are not convenient things. This is a conscious redirection to the moment, time, location, climate and to the conversation you’re in–even when the words hide from you. And it requires a vigilant self-analysis — without a retreat from the world or into excess. Being human to other humans seems simple enough.
I am frequently terrible about it. And so are you.
Refusing to try again is its own kind of death.
I want to live it all. Don’t you?