I am unable to watch the news anymore. I do not remember the last time I picked up a newspaper. The most I can muster is quickly viewing the headlines that leave me depressed and sickened. I must say that I like and prefer my rose-colored glass that shields me from reality in all its unabashed ugly. Behind my rose-colored glasses, I escape and go to places of sanctuary and safety where I try to do good and be good in the face of the blatant bad and just life plainly sucks sometimes. These places revolve around my volunteer work that remind me “It Could Be Me.”
Volunteer work at large venues to try to register people as life-saving organ, eye, and tissue donors. Volunteer work at the animal rescue events to advocate for animals. And, above all else, my favorite volunteer work: The Midnight Run.
It was at least five years ago that I attended my first Midnight Run where I participated and assisted in giving food, drinks, toiletries, and the absolute necessities that we take for granted to those who are labeled as ‘homeless’ and having ‘mental disorders.’ I had never been so physically exhausted yet emotionally charged than that night. I did not hesitate to assist again a couple weeks ago, but I knew my aging over 35-year-old body could not take on staying up until past midnight. So, I did what I did best: I prepped. I made sandwiches. I bagged food. I organized toiletry bags. I matched shoes and tied laces. I talked. A lot. To a room full of people—some would go out late that night to help the homeless. Others as myself would not and would prep and prepare. One woman I met this night of prep and prepare made a comment that it was typically those with mental disorders that were out on the street, but this was not always the case and shared with me about this woman who made an impression on her:
“She had a full-time job, but her daughter got sick requiring around the clock care. She had to leave her job and the healthcare bills kept piling up. Eventually, her daughter died, and she was all out of resources and out on the streets.”
I commented, “It could be you. It could be me.”
“Yes,” she responded, “We all fall on hard times. Life can be cruel and sad and painful, but also so beautiful. It could be anyone of us.”
When I am at Midngith Run and all my other volunteer gigs and when I see what is happening around the world and to the people I love that is of pain and suffering, I am filled with this odd and unexplainable feelings of empty and full at the same time. Always, always, the sentence that follows after “It Could Be Me,” is “Dang, I am so blessed.” I sense a shift in the world we are living in. Cries for help. Heads buried in the sands. We all see and experience what is going on in the world—whether it be directly or indirectly, but this is all about us and we. We are all trying our best to get through our lives and this world day in and day out. We all have a part to play in this world that can be for the better and greater. What are you doing for this world? Perhaps I do not always cling and wear my rose-colored glasses after all.
I think we all are more fragile than ever, needing and craving more compassion and gentleness in these tumultuous times. We all fall on hard times. We can be quick to kick someone when they are down. When have you looked at someone on the outside only to think ‘wow, that could be me,’ making you even more full of gratitude? When have you been at your most vulnerable to receive compassion as the ultimate reaction rather than disdain? When have you experienced the utmost kindness and gentleness that meant the most to you? When have you given compassion that meant the world to someone else? What is your positive part and purpose to and in this world?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,