This is a blog I wrote after a trip to Manhattan in ’08

I’ve been told quite a few times that I need to stop “bleeding for the world”, my oversensitivity to the human race is astounding. A good example of how deeply I am affected by the worlds troubles occurred yesterday. While sitting in a Manhattan restaurant, our table was approached by a man handing little “New York” key chains out. He placed it down by my boyfriend then proceeded to go around to different tables doing the same thing. Attached to these little city skyline key chains, was a small piece of yellow paper explaining what these were about. It said that this man was deaf and that a few dollars for the key chain would help to feed and clothe him and his family. I turned to look at this unthreatening looking man as he scurried about looking to see if anyone would comply, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was overwhelmed with thoughts, not thoughts of “is he really deaf?” or “what a bum” but thoughts of how desperate is this man that he leaves himself open to man’s cruel habits of thinking the worst about those that have nothing. My boyfriend didn’t hesitate, he opened his wallet and gave the man a few dollars without a second thought. I was so proud of him because he didn’t think with his mind, he thought with his heart. Inside my stomach, I felt that all to familiar feeling of empathy that too many people ignore. Sure we didn’t have much money ourselves, yes we didn’t know if what he claimed was true but that wasn’t the point. The point was that there was a chance that he was deaf, that he was poverty-stricken, maybe there were small children at home with nothing to eat, maybe he had even been laid off due to the bad economy, maybe they were living on the streets. We can’t judge one another, we can’t think that someone’s misfortune is a sin or that they deserve it. We need not question, we just need to care. After all it’s the holiday season, what better time to start caring for our fellow-man then this? As this man went to collect the key chains that many had ignored I watched as those around me looked in disgust or disinterest. How empty they are. I’m sure that as Christmas approaches they’ll fill their carts with iPods and TVs, fill their stockings with cell phones and gift cards, fill their stomachs with mountains of food….and yet they still will be empty. These aren’t the things that make us whole and full, they don’t feed our soul. It’s when our heart does the thinking that we start on the road to being the human that God intended us to be, the one that makes Him proud. So maybe next time you see someone in need, whether it’s for a ride home or a few dollars, don’t tell them your going the other way or that you need that dollar. Open your heart and put yourself in their shoes. Find the empathy that is buried deep, for it’s the only way to live a Full Life.

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