Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Compassion

There are days when I don't even want to read the newspaper. Thankfully I don't have cable TV so I miss most of the noise from CNN and other news networks. However, I do see/read/skip over a lot of news/magazines online - I enjoy The Atlantic and The Guardian  the most. So I do keep up on current events and the local newspaper keeps me informed with what's going on in my city and surrounding area.

My morning follows a routine which involves on reading the paper and then going to read the headlines at The Guardian mostly to see if the nuclear red button has been pushed yet. That's my main worry about the state of the world these days. It takes me back to my childhood and scary times in 1962 - The Cuban Missile Crisis and the escalation of creating nuclear war heads by Russia and the U.S. I was only 6 years old in 1962 but I clearly remember the drills at school (like squatting under my desk was really going to save me!) and I remember being terrified of THE BOMB and the total annihilation that it represented.

Frightening times.

It is not within my power to make any relevant changes in the current political landscape but like most of the world's population I wish I could do something to help. Recently I've had two opportunities to reach out to strangers - one I failed at and one that I hope was helpful.

Both times I was riding my bike. A couple of weeks ago I was riding down Cheapside St. and saw a woman staggering along the sidewalk. I did what I usually do - I kept going. Then I thought I should have checked in with her to make sure she was ok. I rode back but couldn't find her. I checked all around the shrubbery and side streets etc but no sign. My hope is that she lived nearby and had made it safely home. It was only a matter of two minutes before I turned around and she couldn't have disappeared into thin air. I still feel bad that my first reaction was to ignore rather than to respond with compassion.

The second incident happened yesterday while again riding my bike. (I see a lot more riding my bike than I do driving my car!) I saw a man laying down beside a street. In fact his legs extended into the street. I circled back and approached him cautiously. I asked him if he was ok several times before he started to come around. I asked him a bunch of questions - he said his name was Jesse and he lived in public housing across the street. He said he'd been to the bank and coming back he fell asleep. I tried to set judgment aside and when he said how grateful he was that I had checked on him I said we're all human beings. I had him stand up for a couple minutes to see how steady he was and then I watched as he walked over to his home.

At no moment did I feel unsafe. Obviously there will be situations that I would report to police rather than involve myself in and will follow my gut instinct. But I hope I will never again turn my head and look the other way. I have myself been on the receiving end of help from strangers more than once and it meant so much to me.





2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello there, this is my first time commenting. I had to tell you that it was wonderful what you did and that you affect others in a positive way when they witness something like that. I came across a homeless man asleep on the street (at least I hope he was just asleep) as I walked out of a coffee shop. I continued to walk past him like everyone else was doing, but soon it was too painful for me to continue. I turned around and walked back to him and set my just-bought (untouched) beverage by him hoping he would have it when he awoke. After doing this and as I started to leave, I was surprised when I looked up and saw several people watching me...one women smiled at me, I didn't expect it. One simple, kind act can impact many. I loved this post so much, thank you for it :)


D.

McVal said...

That was nice of you to help him out. When Meri and I were on our way back from Wisconsin a couple weeks ago, we saw two women walking down the highway away from a broken down car. Robb has always told me not to stop for hitchhikers, but they weren't asking and Meri's heart is bigger than Texas so we did. The women ran to the car, one of them older than me. It was hot out. Turns out they'd run out of gas and the only cell phone they had on them was dying but not before the younger one showed me a pic of her newest granddaughter. We plugged it in to give it a little more juice. The older woman was the mother and actually from Texas visiting. They had just been in another town visiting the husband who was in prison. With the story they told, it broke my heart. But we dropped them off at the next truck stop and our ways parted. My prayers are longer these days.