But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That’s what I strive to do, that’s what I pray to do every day.—Barack Obama
[one_half padding=”4px 10px 0 4px”]The cane sits close to my desk, just in case I need the help. I hate the damn thing. I hate the sight of it, and even more the fact that I should probably use it more than I do. Rain will force me to use it today, I already know. Tomorrow may be another such day as well. With winter beginning to set in, the days when I need the help are going to begin outnumbering the days I don’t. I am somewhat pissed off by the knowledge there are 80-year-old men out running marathons while I can’t get down the hall to the bathroom without assistance.
I never have liked asking for help. Somewhere in my head, for some reason, me asking for help is a sign of weakness. I don’t mind others asking for help when they need it, though I am slightly annoyed when a certain five-year-old asks for help tying her shoes when she’s yet to try for herself. I don’t want to ask anyone for help and I don’t like so often being in a position of needing help that, at times, it feels as though I can’t do anything without some form of assistance. Losing any bit of my independence strikes deep at my soul, leads to depression and questioning my own value in the world. I have quite possibly thrown my cane across the floor in frustration.
Yet, here I am again this morning, needing to lean on something, or someone. I woke up this morning barely able to move. Independence is a myth. I’ve become reliant on Kat and some days when she has to be gone for prolonged periods I often limit my own activities for fear that, should something happen, there’s no one here to help (the cats are absolutely no help at all). When I go for a walk, I have to make sure my phone is well charged in case I should fall, become lost or confused, or need a ride home.
I never expected to have these limitations at this age and it angers me to no end that I can’t keep up with everyone else on the planet. Needing help, even from an inanimate object totally under my control, is emotionally deflating.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 10px”]I am one of the lucky ones. Despite my challenges, I have always known that someone has had my back; friends who have made sure I had something to eat, that drove me to doctors appointments, and kept a roof over my head. Not everyone is so fortunate. Nearly four million people in the United States will experience homelessness this year. Of those, almost 60 thousand of those are veterans; 1.3 million are children. They’re just out there, on their own, struggling to exist.
The second stanza of the poem on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor reads:
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
At this very moment, there are 10,000 Syrian refugees, and more from other war-torn countries, waiting at our shore, looking for help. Yet, because of the cowardly actions of a handful of Daesh morons, there are many of us wanting to hide behind a wall of fear and not let them in. We would rather let them starve or die of hypothermia than accept the risk that comes with being compassionate.
If America has become this country who is afraid too afraid of the shadow of terrorism to keep the refugees of that terrorism alive, then we have lost every last shred of our independence; our fear cripples us just as severely as arthritis in my back and legs. I have a cane on which I can lean, and friends ready to help. The millions homeless and those fleeing terror need help as well. The time has come to step up and be that help.[/one_half_last]