I don't know why, but reading "teacherken's" Diary today, "Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul" and all the comments it got me thinking. I don't know why to be honest, but it made me think of this blog post I wrote back in 2005.
See before Katrina even made landfall I started a blog related to New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, which I've kept up to date until this day (a labor of love at this point). Literally as the storm hit and the day afterwards I got posted as a resource on the sites of CNN, AOL News, and the Weather Channel.
Traffic exploded. Soon local bloggers were contacting me via email and passing along information they wanted me to post. Even asking me for information cause I was 500 miles north and not in the middle of all havoc. One person a few days latter sent me something she wanted me to cross-post, a pretty well known local author. I don't think I've ever posted that here. The title of it was Where Grace Lives.
I passed a man at a shelter the other day. He was tall and lanky and sunburned, dressed in cut-offs and a soaked blue t-shirt, with a grubby baseball cap shoved on top of muddy curls. There was something about his lean, sinewy body that made me think of the shrimpers I’ve seen down in Cocodrie — it’s a hard life and it makes for no-nonsense, self-sufficient men.
He was sitting in a metal folding chair, slumped forward, his elbows on his knees, and the exhaustion in his shoulders made me ache. Between his feet was a medium sized box, and he was staring down into it. The box held some basic necessities: toiletries, canned goods, a pair of socks, and a pair of underwear. I realized, then, that he was barefoot — the grime around his ankles marked him as having abandoned his shoes somewhere along the way. His large feet were probably too big for any of the donated shoes stacked up at a one of the nearby tables.
When I looked back at that box, I wondered what he must be thinking. My first thought, without seeing his face, was that this wasn’t much to give a man after he’d lost everything. This wasn’t much to hold onto for a man like that, and maybe he was angry at having lost everything, or frustrated that this is what he’d been reduced to. I had no words that would be of use, no words which could do any good, and I began to turn away when he suddenly looked up and caught my eye.
He had tears on his cheeks. When I stood there, not sure what to do, he shrugged and said, "I can’t believe how generous people are. I can’t believe total strangers would go out of their way to help so much." I mumbled something about it being the least we could do, as neighbors, and I moved off into the crowd, feeling wholly inadequate and humbled in the face of such grace.
"teacherken" ended his Diary by writing:
Perhaps President Obama should have foregone the round of golf with Speaker Boehner where the two of them negotiated about raising the debt limit. Perhaps instead they could have gone to an impoverished community and seen the lack of access to decent food at a decent prices.
I though of that above story when the little prick Paul Ryan said he'd hold up aid to Jolpin, MO until there were equal spending cuts. I thought of it when "teacherken" wrote about the hungry in our nation. I've not volunteered enough at food kitchens and homeless shelters, but I have. I've not given enough to my local food pantry, but I have.
When I've worked at a homeless shelters or a food kitchen the people I meet there 99% of the time had far more grace then most of our politicians (including those on our side). They were just so thankful, happy, grateful somebody was trying/willing to help there.
I think that is the problem ..... these people literally don't how 99% of the population lives. Oh and they have no grace!