We are lucky that holidays come with a lot to be grateful for. I know many don’t have the same fortune. This year we decided to put together care packages for the homeless and hand them out. Most days we come across homeless people, whether in route to the girls’ school or driving around town. It’s one thing to take time to make eye contact or a hello from the confines of my car, it is quite another to step out and intentionally meet a homeless person, body to body, being to being. I was surprised by the degree of discomfort I felt, mostly because it brought me into their world and experience a touch more than usual. The dichotomy of my life and theirs was quite stark and difficult to embrace. I wasn’t quite sure what brought me where I am and these other human beings to their circumstances.
Sophia and Sonia, both of whom took great interest in making the care packages, admitted they felt a bit scared in approaching the homeless we met today. They said that they looked different from us and they were concerned about safety. Ultimately, after offering the packages and returning to the car with their Dad, they felt grateful to have helped in a small way. It’s refreshing how fresh and honest children can be and a reminder to me of what I hope to instill in them, which is remembering that we are much more the same than we are different.
Our care packages and gesture were not going to bring about any long term relief or change, but, perhaps, at least one of the individuals felt cared for and acknowledged, if only for a moment.
Each of us were impacted by the experience in our own ways. I was happy to expose myself and my family to a part of the community that we don’t normally engage with. It is easy to forget or not notice the larger world experience as we get steeped in our individual experiences. Today we get to return to a warm home, a healthful meal and the company of family. Not all of us have that luxury. It’s funny how the idea of luxury can shift so easily.