Wednesday, October 26, 2011

my brother's keeper

There was an old woman who lived in a small neighborhood.  She was different than other people.  Her neighbors looked at her and avoided her because she was different.  She wasn't always clean, and she walked with a limp, leaning heavily on a walking stick for balance.

Her neighbors watched from behind their curtains, and talked to each other about the old woman, and wondered about her and how she lived.  They never talked to the old woman, or asked how she was doing.  She was different from them, and no one ever came to visit her.  She had an old dog who lived with her, and she would talk to the dog.  Her neighbors thought she was crazy.

As time went on, the old woman became frailer, and thinner.  The dog and woman rarely ventured beyond their yard.  No lights shone in the house at night.  And eventually the dog and woman did not go outside into the yard.  A neighbor noticed the dog in the yard one day, not moving, and called another neighbor and told him "I think that old woman has killed her dog."

The neighbor called the police.  The police called the ASPCA.  They came to the house and knocked on the old woman's door.  She opened the door slowly, and let them inside.  The neighbors watched from behind their curtains, and called each other on the phone, wondering what horrors the police were discovering about the crazy old woman.

After a while, the police came out.  They took the dead dog away to be buried.  One neighbor, the one who called the police, wanted to know what the police were going to do.  He expected them to handcuff the old lady and take her to jail, and was angry because they hadn't.  He rushed up to the police, demanding to know what they were going to do.

"We aren't going to do anything" the officer told the neighbor.  "A while back, some people were hired to do some work for the old woman, and they tricked her into giving them all her money.  Your neighbor's dog was not killed.  He starved to death, because the old woman did not have the money to buy any food.  She is sick and has not had any food in her house for a long time.  We are calling for an ambulance to take her to the hospital now, so she can be cared for."

I rarely use this blog as a forum.  First, because I think there are many people out there who speak to important issues with much more eloquence than I can.  And secondly, because that is not the focus of what I write about.  

Occasionally I get riled up and feel the need to climb up on my soapbox and share my thoughts.  Even though most of what I write is meant to be funny or touch on softer emotions, I do feel strongly about many things.  I learned of something last week that touched me so forcefully, I feel compelled to share my thoughts and feelings. 

Details have been changed to protect the innocent.  But the end result is the same.  We can do great things and contribute to many causes.  But if we live in ignorance and fear of what goes on in our own community, how can we truly be giving, and charitable?  Understanding begins at HOME.  Charity begins at HOME.  I believe that.  And try to live that belief every day.  I see poverty and illness every day.  EVERY DAY.  And try to make a small difference in the lives of those I serve every day. 

I am my brother's keeper.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie
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