This post was originally published on Instagram on March 4, 2015.
These days, I find myself thinking a lot about ‘privilege’ and ‘entitlement.’ Am I really entitled to the things that I have “worked for” or “earned”? Is it not a privilege to have a roof over my head, clothes to keep me warm, and a job that gets me the things that I don’t need?
…Why is it that we are so heartbroken by the sight of one hungry child on our TV screens but so hardened by the sight of a hundred right in front of our eyes?…
Seeing homeless people — that’s nothing new.
But to SEE them for who they really are — that takes some intentionality.
They are not in any way inferior to us, not any less “worthy” or “entitled” than we are.
And just like any of us, they want to be noticed and heard; they hunger for connection and intimacy.
So never mind if you can’t spare any change or food for them. Instead, spare them some time and care — listen to their stories, look them in the eyes, and try to feel what they feel.
Because maybe, just maybe, that was all they were looking for.
Not food to fill their stomachs, but words that will fill their hearts. Not money to buy something worthy, but a simple exchange of look that will validate their worth. Not clothes to keep them warm, but the warmth of human connection and intimacy.
Homeless people — they’re not heartless people.
They have feelings — feelings that are often buried deep down because of constant neglect, condemnation, and pain.
Homeless people — they are people.
Their dignity, worth and value cannot be diminished by their circumstances.