Monday, December 29, 2008
My Excellent Christmas with the Homeless
Every year at this time Sébastien and I put together two haversacks full of goodies and deliver them personally to some of the many homeless people freezing on the streets of our city.
To make up for the Christmas presents they didn't get, to spread a little cheer, and above all to show that we care.
Because homelessness isn't just hard and cruel, and a country's shame. In Canada, in winter, it can be fatal.
And because I agree with this guy.
We've lost something in this country, I think. It happened in the past few years and it is particularly obvious in my neck of the woods. It's a loss of shame about the plight of others, fellow Canadians. Around the time that our armed forces became "warriors," not peacekeepers, something was unleashed. A sizable amount of vanity, greed and harshness of spirit.
I also feel that we're losing our precious Canadian values. That our hearts have grown so hard that we can't even see the misery around us.
That's why it's so good to read stories like this one.
And to know that there are other Canadians like Daniel who are trying to stop our country from becoming a jungle. By treating some of our most miserable and vulnerable fellow citizens like human beings instead of animals.
As for Sébastien and I ....we had a hoot. Because in addition to the shortbreads and chocolates, I also made up a giant batch of coffee....with BAILEYS. Now I'm not much of a drinker. And the smell of Baileys makes me nauseous. And Sébastien said I put too much in. But boy was it POPULAR !!
We got to hear some sad and funny stories from guys with names like Rufus, Chipper, and Bear. Sébastien was able to slip in some medical questions, and escort one guy to a nearby hospital to be treated for a horrible ulcer on his leg.
And I hope that for a moment at least some of these poor Canadians didn't just enjoy my special Christmas Blend....but also felt a little less lonely.
Of course none of this changes anything. Little acts of kindness aren't enough. Homelessness remains a cruel and shameful problem. We need more affordable housing, and better treatment facilities. We need to make that a priority EVERY day of the year.
But I guess what I'm trying to say is that if we're ever going to solve this horrible problem, first you've got to see the problem....and the humanity. First you've got to feel the pain.
First you gotta care....