Yesterday I posted a poem that one of my friend’s wrote about her interaction with a homeless man. As someone who lives and works in the city of San Francisco it would be an irregular day to not see a homeless person digging through the trash, begging for money, or sleeping under the awning of small business.
I don’t know much about homelessness and the causes of it but it is something that deeply disturbs me. My first interactions with homelessness was in India where I quickly became introduced to the dichotomy of the haves and have nots.
The memories of the kids begging on the side of the crowded streets and memories of seeing what true hunger really looked like haunted me on these visits to my ancestral country. I remember promising myself that I would make it my life mission to alleviate the pain I saw in these people’s faces.
Now, living in San Francisco witnessing what happens on our streets, these old memories come flooding back – and to be honest I’m torn – I’m torn between guilt, outrage, and fear. I feel guilty for not fulfilling the promise I made to myself, I am outraged that as a society we can allow for this to happen, and part of me is scared to interact with the homeless.
As I pass the homeless people on my way to somewhere (work, bar, restaurant, theatre) I can’t help but to feel sadness and guilt. Sadness that I’m allowing a fellow human who has feelings, dreams, and aspirations (like I do) lay on the side of the road unacknowledged. Similar to the conclusion Cherry came to in her poem, perhaps, acknowledgement is all another person seeks and is perhaps the greatest gift of all.
I’m going to spend some more time thinking about homelessness and probably write another post about this topic sometime in the future. I would love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to reach out via the “Ask me anything” link in the header.