Thursday, January 3, 2008

Well, obviously.

It is cold outside. It is very, very cold outside. It is so cold outside that I ran from my car to the children's museum yesterday while holding onto Claire's wrist and sort of flying her behind me like a kite. Jake was lucky enough to escape my grip, but I still urged him on with rather specific threats of becoming a freezicle. He had the nerve to stop in the middle of the sidewalk and argue that freezicles do not actually exist. I kept moving.

Later, in the car again, we were discussing the cold weather. I remarked to Jacob that St. Patrick's Center was probably very busy trying to keep people warm. His school has adopted the center as their service project for the year and all the kids are trying to raise money to help serve the homeless. Then my own thoughts boomeranged around and smacked me in between the eyes. There are people outside in this weather. There are PEOPLE outside in this weather. The intellectual truth of a moment before had become a visceral truth. I felt like I'd been gutted with an icicle.

What do I do in a situation like that? Empty the linen closet of extra blankets and the pantry of tomato soup and go looking for cold people? Fall to my knees and pray? Stuff my innards back inside my gut and then carry on? And what causes that icicle to the gut anyway? Could that possibly be grace? Could that be the Holy Spirit? It's not like I'm a cold or uncompassionate person - far from it. But sometimes compassion is distant and other times it becomes more personal. I want to know what makes knowledge become understanding.

Anyway, I'm making some hats out of scrap fleece I have left over from Christmas gifts and clearing extra gloves and scarves from my coat closet. It's something I can do. It's not enough.

1 comment:

Mary Witzl said...

Nothing we can do is enough, but that is no excuse for not doing anything. Good for you that you are at least doing this much, Christy.

When we lived in Tokyo, my heart ached as I passed people living in cardboard boxes, trying to keep themselves warm by wrapping newspaper around their shoulders. I am always amazed that there are people who can convince themselves that homeless people somehow brought it on themselves; that they all must be lazy or insane, not having a house to go back to. Whatever factors have contributed to this complex problem, the people who have ended up homeless deserve our compassion and understanding.