today i walked across the street wearing my new $2o high heels. i had my iphone in my hand and empty the tupperware containers from lunch in the purse my mom bought me as a gift. i was worried about how i was going to get all of my homework done and fit in the time to work out. i was worried about not ordering my graduation announcements on time.
today was meaningful because in an instance it all changed.
to my left was an older-aged man sitting in the grass. i immediately knew he was homeless. i don’t know his story. and i will not make any judgements or assumptions on his life. what i do know is that i can not make sense of the fact that we are living in the same world.
i offered him a smile. he reciprocated the action, but cast his eyes toward the ground. meanwhile, others pretended not to notice. it is a sad day when you observe other people doing everything to pretend that they do not notice. that they felt his extreme poverty was easy to overlook.
how are the two extremes so possible?
and equally important, why is it so easy for people to look the other way?
i am not suggesting that you (or i) should feel bad for owning expensive things or for having nice clothes and a home to go to. a bed to sleep on. trivial things to worry about. i am not suggesting that you stop buying things just because others cannot. however, i am arguing that somethings needs to change. that something can be done.
for me, poverty is something that cannot be ignored.
yes, i went home and ate some healthy snacks that i am fortunate enough to be able to afford. and i also went home to an air conditioned house and continued to worry about all the small things i do not need to worry about. we all are allowed to worry about the things that worry us.
but do not think that this is the end.
i do not have all the answers. nor do i have unlimited amounts of resources. and i will not pretend that i have a solution that is better than all of the others who are working to address issues of poverty. but i do have the drive and the spirit. and that has to count for something.
today was meaningful because i didn’t pretend not to notice. we may live in the same state and have the same needs. we may even like the same food. but today, when i looked the man in the eyes, i was consciously aware that we live in different worlds. and that has to change.