“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.” – Jan Schakowsky.
Welcome to my latest view from the ground. Except, I’m not on the ground. I’m not in the clouds either. Thank goodness for that. I wouldn’t have a true, meaningful and honest view of things if I was floating around up there. However, I’m not on the ground.
This blog has been inspired by my awesome son, Ben, and a recent conversation that we had. I’m blessed, I have 2 incredible children (well, they’re adults now). They are both committed to making a difference to the world. But they will do it their way, without any influence from me or others. That’s awesome as it’s from their heart and is not being done to impress or for some perceived approval.
It’s the younger generation who can, and will, make a difference. It’s the younger generation who are gathering a true voice in their plight to right the wrongs of what my and previous generations have done. They will rise against greed, injustice, prejudice and inequality. We have to allow them to do this! It is their world now.
As those who have read previous blogs will know, I am deeply concerned by the increasing levels of homelessness. There are more empty houses than there are people sleeping on the streets and yet the governments are incapable of dealing with this injustice. There are thousands of empty church and community halls at night, yet people still have to sleep on the streets – in the increasing wet and cold conditions.
Thousands of supermarkets, shops, restaurants, cafes, houses etc still throw out unwanted food. Yet there are more and more people going hungry. Now, this is where I take my hat off to those establishments who do try and make a difference and who do provide their unwanted food to the needy.
So, when Ben and I had our conversation, it got be thinking about all of the above and a little bit more. Ben was telling me about a homeless person he met in Leeds and who he stopped, spoke to, and offered to buy him some food. As you would expect., the chap gratefully accepted the offered. So, off trotted Ben and gave him double what was suggested and some change he had in his pocket. After shaking hands Ben disappeared, thinking nothing more than being grateful he could do this and pleasure in seeing the chap digging into the food.
But this all got me thinking about the view from the ground. How many of us seeing someone in a busy city centre, seated on the ground who is clearly homeless. We might throw a few coins into a box or even go grab the person a meal deal from the local shop but then drop it at the feet of the person before hurrying off to our busy day, or meal with a friend.
However, do we ever think, from a humanistic point of view what the world looks like from the ground. Through the eyes of the person huddled up on a blanket, on the ground. Do we ever think to speak to them at the same, grounded, level? This is why, when Ben told me about shaking hands with the chap he met, it made me quite emotional. In such a small act, Ben had made a big difference. He created in connection based on both being equal. Not looking down, but being the same.
We are the same for f**ks sake. And that is the point. I am sick and tired of reading about wealth and importance. About the billions of pounds that are just going to waste. About inequality and all that is bad in the world. There is a lot – regardless of what some may think – that we as individuals can not effect. Even in gathering as a relatively small group, we won’t effect things. But now, right now, we as individuals CAN make a difference and that is, to start with, help those on the streets that need help; speak to them on an equal level – sit on the bloody ground – they are!; and then created pressure on the authorities, the churches, the community, the government – whatever – to provide a roof, some warmth, some food and drink, and some where to clean. It is not difficult!
We are all the same. We should never look down on any human being and no human being should feel that they have to look up to anyone. We all have a story. I’m lucky, I write my blogs and I’m – still – doing the book(s). There’s a story in everyone. Perhaps, the next time you stop to, very kindly, give some food to someone on the street, ask them their story. It will open your eyes, I’m sure.
Bless you for joining me with this blog. I’m not going to end with a song. I think it’s more appropriate to just think about our view but, more importantly, what it looks like from the ground.