This was posted on Facebook yesterday. Fresh Minds, a page that I really love put this out…..and I was surprised at the comments people made. There was a common theme: blame. Of course, the government got it….Obama got his share of it….rich bastards REALLY GOT IT…and I’m not sure, but I think someone was blaming Fresh Minds for even posting it to begin with. The “lazy people” who are homeless were also thrown under the bus by several commenters.

I realize that what I have to say will be viewed as a Pollyanna kind of thinking, naïve, and uninformed. It’s ok. I’ll tell you right now I could be completely wrong…full of crap, and finally feeling the effects of copious amounts of Diet Coke over a long period of time. Either way, here it is:

I don’t believe the government is to blame. I don’t even believe President Obama is to blame. I don’t blame rich people, and certainly not Fresh Minds. I,  personally think blame has no place in this discussion whatsoever.

What?! you may be saying. It HAS to be someone’s fault!

Before you tar and feather me, hear me out. I have some questions like, *What kind of magical program can the government put out that will save the homeless? *Who are the RICH people? *Are all people who are homeless lazy and drugged up? Does that even matter?

I have to tell you, when I saw this sign, I immediately felt overwhelmed. The problem seems so big…who can possibly fix it? And then I remembered something I heard from one of my motivational people I love. It could have been Martha Beck, or Marianne Williamson, or Wayne Dyer. I have no idea, honestly, but I remember the quote: THEY is YOU. We are so good at saying…”THEY should do something about that.”…or “It’s all THEIR fault“…when the truth is that THEY are US.

This doesn’t mean that I should head up to Capital Hill and try to get some kind of law or bill passed. I think we all know how that would end, given the fact that my 12-year-old daughter probably knows more about the government and the way it works than I do.  I could go around to all the “rich” people and guilt them into giving their money away (picture the legal version of Robin Hood without the funky green hat)…but I have my doubts about that working out, too.

So, what can just one person do? As in me. As in you. Because…..heads up friends:  WE are the rich. As in me. As in you. I have some ideas.

  • I don’t know much about the homeless. I can’t imagine how they got there, and I don’t know their stories. I truly believe that everyone is doing the best they know how to do. When we know better, we do better. Something went  wrong in these people’s lives, and it’s not our job to judge. If you walk by one of them, don’t try to determine whether they deserve your hard-earned dollar, because you’ll never figure it out. Worst case scenario: you just wasted a buck that you would have spent on a burger and fries that will eventually give you a heart attack. Best case scenario: You just gave a guy down on his luck a little bit of hope. Bonus: You can still fit in your skinny jeans.

  • Stop talking about how bad everything is. Seriously, folks. It’s like Chicken Little and his sky is falling bit. Negativity spreads like wildfire. I’ve noticed in my kids and their sports teams…it takes one Negative Nelly to take the whole team down with them. BUT, all it takes is one person speaking positively, and it can lift an entire team to the heavens. I believe life is the same.

  • Start doing something. Anything. I don’t know what your gifts are, but I know God gave you something. Is it donating 50 of the 3,000 quilts you’ve made and are storing in your basement? Are you good with children? My rock star friend, Magen, is working on a program where folks go in a few times a week and spend some time with a student in need. It’s hard to do well in school if you don’t really have your own bed or a parent who knows how to encourage you. Adults that DO know how can make a big difference.

  • Give without hope of ever receiving a thank you. Give without any kind of expectation of the person you are trying to help. Stop worrying about happy endings. Just give NOW.  Can you even imagine what our world would be like if everyone did that?  Call me Jessica Simpson stupid,  but I don’t think any president could ever pass any kind of law that would equal that kind of world change.

I’m sure there is more, but these things seem good enough for a start. I remember my Mom taking groceries to a family that didn’t even have a refrigerator or electricity. We suspected that the parents were on drugs. For 6 months Mom brought that family sacks and sacks of food. She was like Santa Clause once a week to 5 little kids. And then one day, they were just gone without a trace. They left a threadbare mattress on the floor and didn’t even bother to close the front door. Some people may hear that story and think…what good did it do? I remember that story, and I think….no act of kindness is ever wasted. No matter what happened in the end, it wasn’t wasted. I’m leaving you with the amazing Jewel Kilcher‘s song: Hands. My favorite line? In the end, only kindness matters.

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26 thoughts on “In the end, only kindness matters

  1. This is a great post and I couldn’t agree with you more. Like Michael Jackson said, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” Gah, I’m a dork. One thing I know about the homeless population at least in Portland is that decades ago, the state lost the ability to commit people without their consent which mean a LOT of people who should be in some sort of monitored care facility, were released and don’t know how to function. And then there is this crappy economy.

    It’s a big problem and you are right, absolutely right that we need to do more than throw government money at it. We need to get our hands dirty, so to speak, and help these adults and children.

    xo maggie

  2. You know you are singing my song, Sister. I’m all about this and your post was lovely, heartfelt and if we all looked at all the good (there is way more good than bad) then maybe everyone could realize there isn’t a they — there’s just us — and we’re all in this together. xxoo

  3. This post rules, Lisa. RULES. I think about this more and more these days. I may not be able to fit into skinny jeans, but my life is WAY better than so many other people who are down on their luck. Doesn’t matter why. If I have the ability to help them and I don’t, then I’m part of the problem.

  4. Lisa, you ROCK! None of us are qualified to judge. Most of us have trouble walking a mile in our own shoes, much less someone else’s shoes. We are all One. There can be no winners AND losers, for if one person loses, we’re ALL losers – and I’m not okay with that. Each one of us individually may not be able to help everyone. Each one of us making the individual effort together…there’s power! xoxoM

  5. There are thousands of very valid reasons for homelessness and there would be many more seeking shelter if it wasn’t for caring organisations that have/do help so many. Great post.

  6. Good thoughts and strong sentiments. I have noticed that readers of Facebook don’t really want topics that challenge them to think. That’s why I have turned to blogging! Thanks for the great blog, Lis. 🙂

  7. Lis – you are far from Jessica Simpson stupid… you are actually much wiser than the people who are currently making the rules I will remember today that only kindness matters, and my compassion goes much further than my judgment. Great message.

  8. Great post. There are so many reasons and contributing factors for each person.
    One starfish at a time…it will make a difference. (Referring to a story about throwing starfish back into the ocean-in case I was too random)

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