Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How far will we go?

4th of July and just enough money to eat on 'til payday. I was on my way to see a friend in a prison half way house. His favorite holiday is Independence Day, and prison or not, he has the greatest respect and love for his country. I didn't want him to celebrate it alone. I had $15 on me, enough to stop and get us both a milkshake to celebrate in the summer heat. When I got off the exit ramp, I saw a deeply tanned woman at the light. Dark blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, clean, pressed black shirt and blue jeans ended in black boots. She was holding a sign-
"crane operator out of work please help"
Not, "I'm homeless" not "I'm hungry" but "please help"
It was incredibly hot and muggy, I had just driven through a downpour that had ended a few exits back. I'm sitting in an air conditioned car, trying to figure out what kind of ice cream to get, she's standing in rain puddles in the heat.
I know poverty. When I was a teenager, my parents split up and my mom and sisters and I were forced to go on welfare. Food stamps, church donated Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ornaments made out of toilet paper rolls and Reynolds Wrap aluminum tree topping stars. I know what it's like to worry about being homeless, about food, about your future.
I know what it's like being ignored.
I had a $10 and $5 bill along with change, so when the light turned green, I had the window down to give her the $10.
She was so used to no one paying any attention to her, that she almost didn't see me reaching over to hand her the money.
We looked at each other and said 'God Bless You" at the same time.
I managed to make it a few feet down the road before I started sobbing. When I was waiting for the light, I realized she was singing. Softly, to herself. And that is exactly what I would have done. Being ignored by the whole world, I would have created my own and filled it with a comforting song.
I wished I could have given her more. I wish I could have done more.
She sang to herself and I said to myself, "I won't forget you. And I will say a prayer for you before I sleep.'
How do you cure poverty? Poverty of Life, Poverty of Spirit, Poverty of the Heart?
You look her in her eyes and say,
"I see you. You aren't invisible. You aren't alone."

Don't these people mean nothing to ya
Don't these people still belong to ya
Ain't there anything left inside us?

How far will we go
To send them all to heaven

Don't you know we could live together
Don't you know we could give together
Ain't there anything left inside your heart?
Don't these people still belong to ya
How far will we go
Ain't there anything left inside my heart?

YouTube - How Far Will We Go - Kip Winger

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great music