Time to Say “Uncle”

I found a young evergreen we had given up for dead. I wondered what tripped me and turned around to see this young sapling waving or so it seemed. It had been mowed, driven over and walked on, yet still it stood. I was impressed with its resilience and promised to return. 

An all day rain seemed to give it more life as I pounded a few stakes and fenced it for protection. One never knows the outcome when love and attention are given, but the very act of kindness offers immediate reward for the giver. 

The destruction of Hurricane Laura and the seemingly endless wildfires out west on top of a pandemic and an exceptionally dysfunctional leadership are testing the resiliency of many. As the numbers of homeless rise and I hear the sadness and fear in the voices of my friends, I know we have come to the time of saying “Uncle”. 

Saying “Uncle” dates back to the Romans and was uttered by children being bullied into submission. I don’t believe anyone deserves being bullied, nor do I believe in submission. But I do believe we have come to the end of a road. Climate change has intensified due to our energy choices and our inability to care. And while some are enjoying the high life, the truth is that a majority of us are being forced into poverty. We have come to the end of the road. The signs that pointed to prosperity neglected to tell us of the hazards along the way. Greed and indifference have taken their toll. 

But as my young sapling reminded me today, it’s never over ‘til it’s over and a little care goes a long way. So here we are friends, with the opportunity to help one another. Let’s step up.

Seeking Compassion

If you fell into the lull of summer, October will bring to you the shock of approaching winter. Lush grasses wither with a serious frost. The sheep roam the orchard with a bit more ferocity, stocking up on any late falling apples. Wild animals put on extra coats of fur and this is often an indicator of how swiftly winter will settle in with permanency.

October is also the month my mother would begin to query me on how wild animals make it through the winter. She had seen fawns and had fallen in love with their grace and beauty. She needed to know they would be OK when the icy winds of winter blew. I would share with her all that I had observed and while that placated her, she was determined to put her concerns to rest. So one day she said, “There must be a building they go to.” I smiled at her simplicity and reveled in her compassion.

I thought of her today as I contemplated human homelessness. I have never understood it. I’m certain it is a human construct. And I know the numbers of people we deem homeless have increased over the past few decades – directly proportional to our growing lack of empathy and compassion.

So when I heard Bernie Sanders declare that “a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home (is) a fundamental right,”I agreed. When I heard that he said this the day after President Trump disparaged the homeless, I applauded. Apparently Trump would like us to believe that the homeless crisis is harming cities’ “prestige”.

More research on homelessness reveals the fact that providing people with a permanent home is more cost effective than offering temporary housing or temporary services. That makes sense.

We have everything we need to end homelessness; we simply lack compassion.