Baby, It’s Cold Outside
It’s another of those compassionate moments. Darn, they have a way of tracking me down.
With the temperature in my area at about 42 degrees one day last week, there weren’t many people in sandals walking the streets. The wind chill factor was a cold 32 degrees.
There was, however, one woman who had on a pair of Crocs. She was standing in the median of a busy intersection. Her dress was blowing in the cold breeze, and her bare hands were outstretched, begging. As much as I would have liked to, I could not mistake the fact that she was wearing sandals. It was way too cold outside for sandals. Her otherwise bare feet were wrapped in paper towels—the kind you’d ﬁnd in a public restroom dispenser.
I was stopped long enough at the trafﬁc light to watch her in my side view mirror as she walked the length of the median on deathly-white legs, past car after car. No one offered to help, not a car window was rolled down. Mine included.
Homelessness is A Cold Reality
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is an organization that leads in the much-needed coordinated systematic approach that can end homelessness. This approach uses local data to make informed decisions. Specifically, they determine how to effectively allocate resources, services, and programs to serve the needs of those experiencing homelessness in your community.
Feeling sorry for the homeless is not enough. Along with compassion, we can help. Please consider the ways by visiting the work of National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Too Late Double Back
The woman was a stark reminder: too often, too easily, most of us forget how very fortunate we are to have the basics of a roof over our head and a warm bed at night.
Two miles and I was home, rummaging through my closet for gloves and knee socks. Ah! And a scarf. Thank you, Jesus. A canvas bag seemed like the perfect tote, one with a handle so thatI could dangle it out the window for the woman back at the median.
Maybe the bag would be useful for her to carry her other belongings later. I stuffed it full. Another pair of knee socks. Sure, can’t hurt. And a $5 bill. Perfect.
I headed back to the spot, picturing the complete double-back I’d have to make in my car to position myself so that I could pass off the bag to the woman. What didn’t occur to me was that I’d be too late. She was gone.
Since that cold day, the filled canvas bag is basic equipment in my car. It’s gonna stay there, because I’ll never be caught passing up a woman with paper-towel-wrapped feet in January, in sandals—ever again.
A Little Kindness and Compassion
Take some measures to ward off the pain when it’s cold outside, Baby! Here are some helpful and inspiring articles:
- How Kindness Will Change Your Life and the World by Tina Williamson
- Changing the World and Ourselves Through Compassion by Jill Stark