You see yet another homeless man on the corner for the hundredth time holding up that cardboard sign “begging” for something. Whether it is money or food, you don’t care. You don’t even bother to read the sign. All you see is a man holding a sign asking for a hand out. You may feel like he can work and make a decent living just like anyone else right? After all this is America the land of opportunity. Little do you know that on this particular day, that man standing on the corner has a wife and a family of three living in a rundown motel room. He only has enough money to keep them there for a week. After 25 years of working for the same company, he was laid off due to budget cuts. Well prepared for this, the family lives of the emergency savings until he find another job. He managed to save enough money to live off of for a year. After filling out countless job applications and going to interviews week after week he has yet to receive a call back. A year later he still finds himself unemployed and looking for work. Before long the bills start piling up as the emergency savings fund gets smaller and smaller. Pretty soon he isn't able to make the mortgage payment so their house goes into foreclosure. He moves his family into a motel. With no other means to make money, he decides to swallow his pride. “Father of three, laid off from job, a week away from being homeless, please help” is what’s written on his cardboard sign. As he stands there with his cardboard sign, people begin to scream and belittle him. “Get a job!” seems to be the most popular phrase of the day. He’s taunted, mocked, and even spit on. To the outside world he is a man holding a cardboard sign trying to make an easy buck. At the end of the day the man packs up his cardboard sign and heads back to his motel room. He counts what little money he did get. $15.61. As he looks as his wife and children sleeping in the bed, tears start to stream down his cheeks. And as the sun sets, he looks out his window, looks up to the sky he prays this one simple prayer….”Lord please help me”.
The sad thing is no one cares….
We've all heard the story before of boy meets girl. First comes love, then comes marriage, then come the baby in the baby carriage. The only problem is the happily ever after never came. After yet another argument, she finds herself alone in her bed. He’s been gone for three days now. But she’s not worried; in fact she is use to this kind of treatment. For her this was normal. He’s made her feel insecure and unwanted. She knows he is cheating but is afraid to leave. Not to mention he has hit her on more than one occasion. He taunts her about her weight as she puts on her clothes in the morning. “You look disgusting” he says. She holds back the tears until she can get to her car. And on the way to work she cries and she cries. The girls constantly ring his phone at all hours of the night. She tries to keep them at bay but it seems when one disappears, two more pop up. The girls know that she is the wife, yet they don’t care. In fact they make they often joke about how dumb the wife is during their girl talk sessions. With no one else to go, she tries to reach out for help, but it seems her friends are too busy to even notice. Her friends seem happy so she doesn't want to be a burden. She tries to go to her family, but all they do is tell her “I told you so”. The only solace she finds is with a bottle of liquor and some sleeping pills. She tries to remember who she was before she met her husband but that’s all a blur. She doesn't remember the last time she has smiled or experienced true joy. Fed up with life, she takes her Bible, that bottle of liquor, and those sleeping pills into the bathroom. She opens up her Bible, reads a couple of scriptures through bloodshot eyes. She looks at herself in the mirror and doesn't know who the girl is that is staring back at her. Finally she says this final prayer….”God if I’m worth saving….save me” as she downs half a bottle of pills. As she slowly slips away…..
The sad thing is no one cares…..
Until it happens to them.
The message is clear….. I think it’s time we step off our island (population 1) and really take a look around at the world around us. It’s time to start paying attention. Pay attention to the people that are around you. Listen to the words they are saying. So many cry out for help but it goes unnoticed because we are so wrapped up in our problems and issues. We only care when things happen to us. We are so focused on what we got going on that we “don’t have time” to entertain the next persons problems. We think helping someone always involves money. But I can tell you personally, a kind word, a hug, and a listening ear can go a long way. Once the money is gone, it’s gone, but the kind words that a person ingrains in your heart can last a lifetime. That cliché “it’s the little things” is a powerful statement because it’s truly those gestures of kindness that can change a person’s life forever.