Seeking Compassion

If you fell into the lull of summer, October will bring to you the shock of approaching winter. Lush grasses wither with a serious frost. The sheep roam the orchard with a bit more ferocity, stocking up on any late falling apples. Wild animals put on extra coats of fur and this is often an indicator of how swiftly winter will settle in with permanency.

October is also the month my mother would begin to query me on how wild animals make it through the winter. She had seen fawns and had fallen in love with their grace and beauty. She needed to know they would be OK when the icy winds of winter blew. I would share with her all that I had observed and while that placated her, she was determined to put her concerns to rest. So one day she said, “There must be a building they go to.” I smiled at her simplicity and reveled in her compassion.

I thought of her today as I contemplated human homelessness. I have never understood it. I’m certain it is a human construct. And I know the numbers of people we deem homeless have increased over the past few decades – directly proportional to our growing lack of empathy and compassion.

So when I heard Bernie Sanders declare that “a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home (is) a fundamental right,”I agreed. When I heard that he said this the day after President Trump disparaged the homeless, I applauded. Apparently Trump would like us to believe that the homeless crisis is harming cities’ “prestige”.

More research on homelessness reveals the fact that providing people with a permanent home is more cost effective than offering temporary housing or temporary services. That makes sense.

We have everything we need to end homelessness; we simply lack compassion.