Saturday, April 8, 2006

Life's rich pageant

One of the ancillary effects of my trips to the world's greatest city is the opportunity to not only feel good about my own life, but to remember how fortunate I am to be where I am and not someplace else. A simple visit to a fast food restaurant can provide much more than calories, cholesterol and saturated fat.
If I sit there long enough, one of the less fortunate creatures among us will wander in, and seeing me alone with a bag of food, approach me for a handout. If you are the heartless type, you would be likely to tell them to get lost or get a job, but the part of me that believes "there but for the grace of God" always reaches into my pocket.
When I see them walking out with their own bag of food I know that for at least a little while, there is a person who isn't hungry. Their hunger returns though, and their fate is not always in my hands, so it is likely that their needs are not always being met.
What I think about as they are walking out is that the world is a diverse mix of people. Our needs are many but greatly different. A few blocks away there is a kid who wants a new iPod, and next to me is a grown man in need of a hot meal. How strange and sad that we have been made so differently, and that the world has been created so differently for some.
On my way home I passed a subdivision of new homes that cost $400,000. There will be no problem selling them. I also passed a man sleeping on a steam grate, wrapped in a blanket that is older than me. As far as he is concerned, those homes may as well be built on Mars.
Perspective is a fascinating thing, and if we lose it we lose something within ourselves.
I need to make more trips into the city.

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