Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Do Unto Others....

If the day hadn't started the way it did, I wouldn't have been prepared for what happened. 

The world is full of paradox and dichotomy.  This I've known since I was a little girl, actually.  The concepts were refreshed recently that, a) meat is bad for me but I crave it like a wild animal at least once per month, b) I live in one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. (Florida) but we are known as the other States' idiot brother, i.e. CHADS and FL vs. Zimmerman, and, finally c) my mind is willing but my flesh is weak and flabby.

We are faced with decisions daily, some easy, others horrendously difficult.  I'll place yesterday's decision at the horrendous end of the spectrum.

Rushing to run an errand for my mother, I hit the store and began the drive to her home.  I didn't get far from the store when I passed a young man lying on a bus-stop bench.  He looked as if he wasn't breathing, no movement, and in the hot Florida sun with no shade.  I imagined he could be high, have sunstroke, be ill...amazing how many thoughts can go through your head in just a few seconds.  If it were my brother, or my daughter, or friend in trouble, I'd be eternally grateful for anyone to help them.  In fact, people have been very kind to those I love and pray for so why not? However, I wavered, as we all would in this situation.

I asked out loud, "Should I go back and check on him or face the Wrath of Mom?" (You Trekkies will get that joke.)

As I kept an eye on him for movement through my rearview mirror, I sighed heavily and made the turn into a parking lot to return to the man.  I parked on the street corner next to the stop and went to him.  Long story short (too late!), my questions of his physical status, mental status, and level of danger to me were all answered in a quick assessment. 

First, he was chewing on a plastic candy wrapper in his mouth, a bit of a beard coming in, dressed appropriately, but there was something else.  His eyes and his answers let me know that this poor boy, was developmentally disabled.  He told me he lived in a group home and that he was walking from school.  A lot of what he was saying was unintelligible but I thought I made out the name, Dillis.  Later, I asked him again because that sounded stupid to me.  Turns out when urged to remove the candy wrapper and speak clearly, the name was Louis.  

Louis only answered questions.  Otherwise, he did not speak.  He told me he knew where he lived, but did not know the address or any names besides his own.  I believed if the home was in the neighborhood, with some help, he could point the way. 

          "Do I keep straight here?"
          "Keep going?"
          "What's the color of your house, Dillis?  (Hadn't figured it out yet, OK?!)
          "This is the end of this street.  Do I turn left or right?" (It was about here, I realized this is not working.)
          Louis points right.  Louis points left.  Louis drinks the bottle of water I'd given him.
          "How old are you?"
          "Ten."  (Houston, we have a problem.)

So, I gave up on Louis' directions and decided to stop at the police station nearby.  I had Louis get out of the car, go in with me and have a seat.  As I'm explaining where and how I found him to the policewoman at the front desk, another policeman walks up and she tells him, "I think this is the kid who wandered away from Chamberlain."

In a couple of minutes, they'd determined that, yes, they had been searching for him, he had the mentality of a 5-year old, and that his name was.......John Edwards.  Right out of his mouth when the policeman asked him!
I kissed him goodbye, blessed him and practically ran out of there to get to Mom's with her groceries!

One policeman looked at me strangely and said that not everyone would have stopped for Louis/John Edwards.  I explained that I always will when I feel it's right.  I've been blessed with my health (minus the Multiple Sclerosis!), loving family, friends, vehicle, home, clothes, food to eat, and safe water to drink.  Anything I do, I do in love and gratitude for what is given to me. 

It's not like I would have offered a ride to the man I spotted Sunday, who resembled a VERY skinny Santa, wearing nothing but shorts, socks, and sneakers, skipping and dancing down the street. When I last glanced at him, he'd stopped and had struck a victorious Rocky-pose. Even I have my limits.

Now, understand, I'm not writing any of this for a pat on the back OR to be screamed at for how unsafe such a situation could have been.  I don't advocate anyone try what happened here or ever pick up strangers.  However, if anyone is actually still reading at this point, I'd love to think that it made you think about what blessings you have in your life and how many don't have what you may have.  It is our duty to take care of one another, in addition to our own families.  Everything we do, wherever we go, love should be the primary motive of our actions.  We can live without 'stuff' but we can't live without each other.  Not really live.

Can you imagine what a world it could be?  Dream on, you say?  Nah! 

Well, guess what?  People besides the great ones you consider, like Mother Theresa, are out there making a difference.  Regular people everyday help in the smallest ways which add up to big ways.  Organizations like Catholic Relief Services ( are helping to bring water to the villagers of Rhoka in East Africa and to Ghor in Afghanistan, while still helping the U.S. poor, and people like Dr. Vandana Shiva and others ( are working in India and globally to keep companies like Monsanto from patenting and controlling and destroying Earth's gift of natural seeds and farming communities.  Small organic farms are popping up everywhere as we all begin to find our roots (Hey! I like that one!).

Meanwhile, a very small percentage of Earth's inhabitants are doing things like building private islands to escape anyone who has less than they do. (  Sorry...I threw up a little in my mouth over that one.  I wonder if they give even a measly 10% of that kind of wealth to help others.

The very rich should not be the only sector of humanity who are able to eat well, have water, and be safe from violence.  I'm counting our blessings every day and remembering there are people who don't have enough to eat right here in the United States!  Contributing to food pantries locally is a wonderful way to help the poor and working poor of your community.  Help a senior neighbor who doesn't drive by giving them a ride to a doctor's appointment or the store.  Make a dish for a family you know is under/unemployed.  Summer's almost here and parents will have to feed the kids all day instead of school meal programs providing for them.  Visit someone who is in the hospital or shut-in at home sick just to chat.  Invite a acquaintance that hasn't many friends to a holiday gathering or just to dinner or coffee.  Write to someone who is imprisioned that you know could use some outside contact.  And if you happen to BE one of the under or unemployed, there's all the more reasons to reach out with whatever you have to help others, too.  Volunteering time to Seniors or shelters makes life meaningful for you while life works itself out. From a more practical side, it also opens you up to meeting others, which could lead to employment and friendships. 
Did you know that a human can die from lack of physical contact (being touched)? Hug somebody today.

Ok.  Now it looks like I've drifted a bit.  Time to get on with the day and see what it brings.  Have a blessed day, All!