On a warm summer night in downtown Chicago an encounter takes place between one man without a home, the other without a heart. The forecast a day before predicted thunderstorms the entire day, 90% chance of seeing rain in fact. To everyone’s surprise the entire Memorial Day was absent of any hint of rain. It was a welcome development since the city was on a terrible streak of unseasonably cold weather. The grandiose of the day was not lost on the night. The metropolis, filled with such energy from its people that day in conjunction with the abundant supply of the suns energy, kept the air warm with life even into the dead of night.
That night started out as the last night between brethren. A bit greedy we wanted to take advantage. We proceeded to walk from place to place in seek of that final good time when collectively we noticed that seemingly at every corner there was someone asking us for money. Some had stories, some didn’t. Some even attempted to trade unsolicited knowledge of directions for legal tender. It was becoming apparently clear that attempting to help everyone would empty our pockets fast. Not that our club entry or cab fare was more important than another man’s need to eat, It was just clear that this was the daily lazy hustle of some of the men. To avoid trying to figure out who was who we just avoided all interaction.
This man was different. He was a little older than most of the men and had a clear charm about himself before he could say a word. For an instant I thought about giving him what cash I had handy for a future cab, but instead I just kept pushing on like so many other times. The man having more character than the others tugged at what I thought was my heart until he exclaimed, exposing the fragility of his tired old voice, “They don’t have hearts where you come from!”
Immediately I was emotionally smitten by this short bearded man. I thought it was the coldest thing a sweet old grandpa could utter without the use of profane language. I questioned my reluctance to give him just a dollar. I questioned the reasoning behind it. Had I really grown that cold to ignore a hungry old man. I started to think about how that is bred into the capitalist society that we live in.
Are we as humans so far removed from the notion that in order for us to progress and evolve we need each other. In older times the village starved and feasted together. We are so unconnected from each other now we comfortably walk amongst each other as if no one exists. Imagine if the cells in our body were to abide by those sets of principles. White blood cells not wanting to carry oxygen to the rest of the body from pure selfishness. What if sperm cells were too apathetic to aspire to want that egg. There would be death with no chance of new life. An extinction of a species.
Its no wonder that this country I live in is on the verge of collapse when its inherently designed in the system to which we abide for the few to have the most; and the most to have so few. Individually it seems we don’t measure success on how well the whole of society thrives; but only ourselves. I know that’s not true of all people, but it is too apparent to ignore like the old man in the door way. Collectively our way of thinking has to change.
I feel we should all want our neighbors and countrymen to succeed. Harmony is only achieved in this universe by having balance. Our very own planet can only sustain life because of its balance in relation to our sun. Its a universal truth.
I don’t know what circumstances ultimately led him to being homeless. All I know is that it is a sad situation. The plight of the homeless should be shared to an extent. There’s just something not right about it. What’s happening to our sense of community? Until we start thinking as a collective I fear these erroneous situations will continue to be a bane on our society.
They say that home is where the heart is. What if you have no home; and worse yet, what if you have no heart?