As many of you know I work in the non-profit world of affordable housing. The organization that I am affiliated with owns approximately 500 front doors, units that we lease to the elderly, people with mental health issues, HIV/AIDS, and individuals and families who would otherwise be homeless without our assistance. This is a second career for me, one that has been impactful on my life, more so than what I did in the first 30 years of my working life.
I don’t know what your grocery stores look like but the two I shop at are empty. The mission church I attend asked for care packages to distribute to the homeless population my church serves this morning. The request was simple, peanut butter crackers, fruit cups, Vienna sausages, cereal bars, granola bars, and a bottled water packed in gallon-sized freezer bag. I headed to the store last night to pick these items up. The last one I found was the Vienna sausages. I put the last two 6-packs they had on the shelf in my cart and was headed for the checkout when a lady stopped me and asked if I really needed both. I told her I was putting packages together for the homeless and she said, “I don’t care.” I smiled and told her that I would be happy to give her one if she needed it and she spun around and said don’t bother.
I don’t know what is going on in people’s lives, so I try not to judge but I do know that people are struggling right now. This “situation” should be a wake-up call for everyone about how fragile and precarious life can be. Many of us are fortunate, others would say blessed, I lean more towards lucky, that we have the resources to weather this storm. Certainly, for some of us we can’t survive it indefinitely but others in our communities, our neighbors, are already being severely impacted by the chain of events that have occurred in just a matter of a few days. I think about the single mother, working in the food service or hospitality industry and the instability and insecurity she is feeling right now on top of trying to figure out what she will do with her kids now that school has closed. She is both the warrior and the wounded in all of this.
I hope people will learn something after “this too shall pass” moment subsides other than the need to have a few extra rolls of toilet paper stashed away. It would be nice to believe that we would learn something about ourselves, our needs and what really matters in our lives. Most importantly for me would be for people to develop a sense of care, compassion and empathy for others. If something must spread and infect, I hope those three opportunities for growth will rather than the COVID-19.
As I have been preaching to my children over the last three years change for this country will happen from the bottom-up. The vast majority of us know that the “leadership” coming out of Washington has been like a rudderless ship. The actions, the leadership we have seen and experienced as it pertains to COVID-19 is occurring at the local and state level and have little to nothing to do with the orange clown sitting in the White House or the Mitch McConnell’s or Lindsey Graham’s of the world.
Governor’s and Mayor’s are making the hard decisions that have and will save people’s lives while the rest of us watch Trump evolve from this is all a hoax, it will disappear in April, I have been on top of this since the very beginning, to who could have seen this coming but I am doing a “tremendous job, I give myself a 10”.
We can solve our “Trump Problem” in November but in the meantime help your neighbor even if they wear a red baseball cap with the insignia of the beast. A little more care, compassion and empathy during these uncertain times will go a long way in truly Making America Great Again.