I was watching the news the other day (never a good idea) and they were talking with a homeless woman. She’d suffered the worst disrespect, cruelty, and humiliation the world could possibly dole out — seemingly ever since she was born.
She didn’t want to live any longer. She wished she had a terminal illness so that she’d be put out of her misery sooner. Suicide had been a daily consideration for years and years.
As she stood there sobbing in front of the camera telling her story, my heart sank… Since I’ve become a father, I always think about my daughter when I see women in these predicaments. If she takes a wrong turn or three, she could easily end up alone, cold, and who knows what. I saw my daughter in this woman’s eyes. Ugh...
Listen, I know there’s more going on under the surface of the 30-second clip that I saw of her. I don’t know her story, her medical history, etc. But today, I want to take my limited representation of her into this piece. What would I say to this woman — or anyone like her — if I had a chance? Is there anything I could convey to her that would ease her pain?
I went immediately into spiritual lifeguard role. Here was someone drowning. And I was searching for a floatation device.
I’m not sure if there’s anything I could say to her, face-to-face that would help. She’d likely take one look at my skinny, Anglo, thirty-something, clean-cut, family-man face and think to herself there’s no way I could relate. Or maybe this is just my insecurities speaking.
In any case, being that I’m not a trained mental health expert nor do I have access to a home for her with all the things she needs, the best method would be to impart a spiritual download in her. I haven’t yet figured out the technology to do this yet, but if I could, this is the gist of what the download would give her the insight into (it’s actually a quote):
Never was there a cosmic famine.
Her whole life, I’m betting that harmful people trapped in their own stories of lack and fear have projected them upon her and distracted her from the one thing that could bring her out of the darkness. This one thing, she has access to at all times, on-demand.
No, I’m not necessarily talking about healthcare, friends, family, food, or government assistance (although that’s likely all that matters to her right now, and I get it — I wish, wish, wish someone would help her in a huge way).
No, I’m not saying she must find religion. I’m not pointing to a deity ‘out there’. I’m pointing to the one that animates her and has been resting in her her whole life and will carry her along after her current body turns to dust.
I’m speaking of her uniquely human ability to reach towards the inner resource that lies beneath her story for a new thought right now, and in every moment, regardless of her circumstances.
Of realizing that her innate wellbeing lies — right damn now — underneath the wreckage. This ‘thing’ I’m speaking of has never been, nor can ever be harmed or damaged by anyone else.
There’s no such thing as a cosmic famine. She has the possibility to dip into the unlimited and take one step in the direction of the good that yearns to express in and as her. And then another step. And then another. Even amidst all the apparent stumbles she’ll make along the way.
I know it might be hard for her to see. Hell, it’s hard for me to see and I’m in a relatively safe place in life.
But who she really is — her inherent nature as a creative being — is the first mover. She must take her eyes off of her limitations as an individual ego (the world of form/effect) and gaze beneath and beyond her to this first mover placing her faith there. This is the shift she (and all of us in some way) must make from seeing/feeling only the darkness of existing circumstances to the wholeness of the unlimited potential that lies in her inherently creative, resilient, intelligent being, every present moment.
No one else can do it for her. As she’s proved to herself time and time again, she can’t look to her outside world for it. It’s an inside-job that she must parachute into. She must do it repeatedly. And she must take her steps in life accordingly. No amount of money can change this for her or anyone else.
This is both the chore and the privilege we have as humans. We must do this individually to realize it.
Reacting, reacting, reacting. This has likely been her reality her whole life. Survive, survive, survive. And it’s a damn shame.
I’d have her see that she is not tainted, no matter what her reality is showing her now. If she could grasp this one golden strand of life flowing through all of humanity — the Source of all things new and good — she’d maybe be on the way towards something new.
I hope this doesn’t make me come off as dispassionate. It makes my stomach wheezy just writing about this kind of thing. Like I’m overstepping. I’ve been through my share of tough times, but I’ve never lived on the streets or any of the circumstances she’s likely facing/has faced.
I know it may seem that I’m lacking empathy. But I refuse to keep her in the victim role. I want her to step into the power that is her birthright. I know it can be done — I’ve seen it. I know there is a way that she can make this a reality. But it has to happen in her before it happens around her.
So, yes, let’s get our hands dirty and change the structures — governmental and societal — that lead to this kind of suffering in so many. We have a lot of work to do, friends. It’s likely this work will take us a very long time.
However, we can’t wait for them to change things before those of us on the proverbial cold floor of life step into a better one. Wisdom and faith can bring us to a better place right here, right now.