So I pulled out of my very middle-class apartment building this week, and while looking left and right before entering the road, I saw a homeless man sitting at the side of said road, with his stereotypical shopping cart filled with possessions along with his faithful hound. However as I pulled away in the opposing direction, I couldn’t help but think, “man, that guy is better than me.”
So why did I feel this way? I haven’t done anything wrong, or mistreated his homeless brethren in the past, so what gives?
Well simply put, it was the way he treated his dog.
This is not a new concept to most people, but I think it doesn’t hit home quite often enough. It is when we have the least, that we are at our most generous. That man didn’t need to show any love or attention to that dog, but he does. But why? Well, he likely wants someone to love for himself so it’s a natural fit, but that dog also deserves to be loved. Now, this is not to say that we must all go out and become friends with the next stranger or stray dog we meet, but rather adhere to the general concept.
To be clear, I’m probably the biggest culprit here. I love generously those that I really want to, but struggle to do so with new people or those I maybe don’t wish to. It’s a stupid problem, but it’s still a problem.
Anyway, more to the point here, the man probably has little to no food for himself, yet he freely gives to a faithful friend. Did the dog help procure that food, or humbly beg for money and face the scowls and judgmental eyes of the more fortunate? No. So one could argue that the dog is undeserving, yet still, he receives.
Why can’t we do that so easily? Probably because pride and beliefs such as “well if he just tried to get a job…” or “he’s probably a drug addict who deserves it” get in the gosh darn way. We are taught by the modern secular ideals that we as individuals are kings and queens, and as such we deserve the best, all for ourselves as individuals. If we are going to seek for a better life for ourselves, friends and loved ones, we need to change that thinking.
We are quick (sometimes) to help those whom we know personally, but have little to zero interest to help or even vaguely consider the next human. Why? Personally, I think it’s because we just don’t care. Not even enough to courteously create walking space for someone in the supermarket. Which let’s be honest, we’re pretty pathetic if we can’t even be bothered to do that.
So I encourage us to think about how we can be more giving. This doesn’t always have to be in the usual time or monetary forms (although those are great), but in just thinking for 1 second about someone else and how we could possibly be of assistance to them. That little will go a long way. Maybe even make the world a better place.