In a homeless service center ten miles from where I sit there are people far more relieved than me that the terrible blast of a Nor’Easter has passed us by.
There are people there, waiting in line for their turn in the shower, holding their belongings under their arms. There are people, there, who battle addictions, women who leave the place in search of a John to scrape up enough to get their next high. There are people, there, who once owned homes and cars and businesses, and who have lost. Everything.
There are people, there.
There are people.
It has been a reoccurring theme in my heart and on my mind, more intensely so in the past few years, the disparity of our society. When my daughter had a friend who would not come to play at our house, because of where we live. Because of the assumptions made.
When I read political discussions on debt ceilings and blogs on how the downfall of society will be at the hands of those who built it – for greedily keeping their money to themselves.
When I hear people who work with the lowest of the low in our population, vent their disgust at how a wealthy person will give a million dollars to their charity, but hem and haw over it, not giving a penny more…when they have ten times that just sitting in their account.
Everyone is right. Everyone is Wrong.
It’s frustrating. It’s mind blowing. It’s hurtful.
All of it.
And the disparity that I see here, is not really one of financial status and it’s not something that can be fixed by the government coming in and reassigning wealth as it sees fit.
Unfortunately, what keeps me up at night is far worse. As a culture, we have a disparity of the heart.
Sure, the government can determine who should give more and to where. The government could look over the fat bank accounts and hand out old money, money from generations passed down and just sitting there.
But what of the attitudes in our hearts? What of the culture that we are in where we don’t even SEE the people before us. What of the world we live in where we don’t even value human life, not slumped on the sidewalk as we walk to a restaurant, and certainly not otherwise – where across the ocean from where I sit, aborted fetuses are used to heat hospitals.
As the world gets smaller and smaller, even as we all “connect” on social media, we are becoming ever more focused on ourselves, not those right next to us, not our neighbors, and certainly not those living ten miles north, sleeping amid garbage and waiting in line for showers that may or may not have been defecated in.
I might be taking a mistaken leap here, but the world, as I see it, is filled with a culture of me, not we. And until we fix that disparity – the distance between MeMeMe and We, we will always have unrest.
For my part, I want my children to see us give until it hurts. I want my children to have just enough, and to know when to say when. I want them to know when comfort becomes a god, or when need becomes greed.
I want to do the same.
I want my children to see Vinnie and I serve, not just in hours at our church, but in time spent with people that might otherwise be walked past, in money that we give, in lives left open to others in sacrifice.
And I want for my children to grow up and pass this on to their children, and so on. So that somewhere along the line, something far more powerful than the bidding of the political right or the political left might happen, but that the hearts of our culture might shift, might blink, might wake up just enough to see where we are.
And that we are all here.