I recently had a conversation with someone who complained to me about a nuisance they had in their life. A nuisance who was an inconvenience to this person’s lifestyle. Why? They were needy. How dare they fall into hard times and not have enough money to care for themselves? How dare they lose someone they love and struggle now to provide for their family? How dare they have children with needs or have health issues themselves that limit what they can do to provide? What a nuisance.
And what about Joe down the street that lives in a trailer park? Speaking of those nuisances to society and to my life, that trailer park really is an eye sore. But do you know Joe? The guy who lost his job because of a battle with cancer. The guy who had no family to help when he became disabled and lost his home. The guy who is in constant pain, barely surviving off of his disability check, and rarely able to make it to the store to buy what he needs with it. The guy who has lost it all and is just trying to survive within the means that he has until the cancer finally takes his life. A nuisance.
When did the less fortunate among us become so odious to those of us who just happen to have more? We did not make the air we breathe, or the water we drink, and yet we ALL need them to survive. Some of us may be more financially well off. Some of us may live in a nice house on a hill with a view–like myself. But how does that make me better than Joe? Why is my house so much nicer to look at? Because it’s more expensive? If we’re honest with ourselves, how do we define a “nice” neighborhood? Is it not how expensive the houses look and how well “kept up” they are because this and that homeowner could afford a gardener? Does it not all revolve around how much money we have? And yet someone like Joe is more genuine, kind, and caring than most human beings who live in those houses with a view. He has more life experience. He has actually been humbled enough to notice others around him.
When did the poor and needy become a nuisance? What ever happened to caring for those in need; not looking down on them. What ever happened to compassion? For a society that claims this “right” and that for all these different groups, and equality in all things, what are we actually doing to provide equality? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about giving up all of your money per se. It all starts with an attitude.
If we truly wanted to help the needy, it would not be for political gain, to make me feel good about myself, or to look better in the eyes of others. It would be because I CARE for the person I’m helping. It would be because I see myself as EQUAL to them. Different circumstances, sure, but human. We are all human. We are all frail in one way or another. And in one way or another, we are all odious to someone. We all have our failures and our shortcomings.
That is compassion. Not looking at Joe’s trailer as an eye sore, but seeing him as a fellow human being who has a much harder life than I do. Someone who is just like me–just living within his means and trying to survive this world of hate and deception that so deceitfully pretends to care.
Try that on for size. Don’t just help someone. CARE for someone. See them as your equal, no matter what their circumstances are or how much money they have. I dare you: have compassion on your fellow human beings.