As much as I whine about not having money, and as stressful as it can be to not know if you’re going to be able to pay your rent any given month, I fully realize that I have a first world, middle class point of view. My expectations for what my life can or should be are largely influenced by this perspective. I know that for the majority of the world’s population, having a second-hand Droid X instead of a new iPhone 5 is not a problem. I get that.
I recently had a second interview for a job in the development department at IHS, or the Institute for Human Services. IHS is primarily a homeless shelter, but they run a very comprehensive program, including health services, employment and housing services, and sustainability programs. Their mission is far reaching and their compassion is absolutely necessary in our community where homelessness is all around us.
As I pulled up on my moped, wearing clothes and accessories all from discount stores that were several years old with my second hand phone and my iPod nano from 2008, I was suddenly struck by just how privileged I am. It was an idea that I had always carried with me, but in that moment, it was completely tangible.
I was surrounded by people who had very few, if any possessions. They probably didn’t wake up in the morning and worry about what they were going to wear because they were already wearing their only clothes. They weren’t worrying about paying their rent because they didn’t have a place to live. For whatever reason, they had nothing, and they needed the help of IHS. More than ever, I wanted to be a part of the team that would help them feel a bit more secure and a bit more valued.
All anybody really wants is to be treated with a bit of dignity and respect. All that really matters is that we take care of one another. Everything else is just noise.
I’m not trying to tell you to sell all your possessions and burn your driver’s license like that kid in “Into the Wild.” I still wished I could go shopping and buy myself some new work clothes today. I just think that it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that no matter what you have or don’t have, there is somebody in the world who needs your help. You have the power to give someone that gift. Donate money. Volunteer your time. Bring someone a cup of hot coffee. There is something you can do.
We’re all in this together. Let’s help each other be more awesome.