As a college student, on spring break, I traveled with a group of peers to Miami. We worked in a mission there for a week. For some reason, I was asked to speak to the clients of the mission on a Sunday morning. The audience was large and they were captive, literally, as they had to endure a “service” before they could eat breakfast that day. My only question was, “What could a middle class college kid say to people living on the streets of a town that seemed a million miles away from where I grew up?”.
My answer came from my favorite professor, Dr. Dungan, who suggested speaking about the widow that was so persistent that her needs were eventually met.
So I spoke of those things, trying to encourage these men and women to not lose hope, to keep trying, to not give up. Not give up struggling for whatever they were working towards. Not give up on God. Or humanity. It lasted a good fifteen minutes and when it was over I went into the bathroom and cried. I felt I had done little for anyone that day. I wanted to believe my tears came from a place inside me that was empathetic or filled with compassion. In truth, my tears came from not being able to better the lives of the people I was “helping” instantly, which was, a direct contradiction, to the advice I had just delivered.
Like it or not, fair or not, we all start at some point with a station, or place, in life. It is ignorant to believe that there is no privilege, or racism, or elitism in the world. We are where we are, most likely, because of some system of preference or some preference given by someone. It is important to recognize this. It is heresy to believe it is ordained or created by God. There are those who work their way up and there are those who allow themselves to fall. Our station is, of course, man made, but it is also, of course, a man made reality. What then can we do to help others? Honestly, I have no ideas on the matter. Perhaps we should wake each day with a desire to help where we can, to start. If we get real crazy, we might believe peace is possible.
A couple of years after this experience, I wrote a song. Some of which is shared below.
Living ain’t worth living, unless your into dying. Dying ain’t worth dying, ’til you’ve lived.
Giving ain’t worth giving, unless your into taking. Taking ain’t worth taking, ’til you give.
Pray for Love, live to see its face. Make your home, in the light of its embrace.
Life is short, and our days they are not long. You gotta do what you can, to help the world along.