Since moving to a city, one of the most difficult things I have been grappling with is my reaction to the homeless individuals I pass everyday on my way to work.
When I was a bratty middle schooler, wayy too concerned with being popular (that never really worked out for me), my mom told me; “every human being deserves the dignity of a response.” Its been over a decade and this has stuck with me as one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. Every time I power walk past someone on the side of the street, eyes straight forward as though they aren’t even there, I feel this piece of advice nag at the back of my mind.
I may not have significant means, but I am lying to myself if I think that I can’t help. Like so many others, I’m guilty of spending money frivolously. I can strut by a homeless man, and stop halfway down the block to spend five dollars on a coffee at Starbucks. There is something fundamentally wrong with that.
And BEYOND money. By the simple good fortune of circumstance society tells me I’m allowed to ignore these people’s reality. In a sense, this renders them invisible. But every human being deserves the dignity of a response.
I walked by a man the other day with a sign that simply read “seeking human kindness”.
Aren’t we all?