Friday, September 9, 2011

h is for help

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.

Mother Teresa (1910-1997) activist and humble hero

hardly an hour passes without an opportunity to lend a hand to help someone or something. how we respond to these opportunities is the question - do we turn a blind eye or open our hearts?

all week we have been hearing about people helping people - whether it is in response to natural disasters like the fires in texas or the after effects from hurricane irene or looking back to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. with respect to the latter, this morning on npr there was a beautiful heart-rending story about father mychal judge, one of the hundreds of heroes, who hurried to the wtc when the first plane hit - in case you missed it, take heart you can hear (or read) it by going here. the story of father mychal is part of storycorps' current oral history project to collect stories about each person who died on that heartbreaking day.

the photo today is of a donation meter - although it is a clever way to expand help to the homeless, the history of how these meters came to appear on cleveland's streets, in my humble opinion a bit heartless. like many cities cleveland has been trying to eliminate or reduce panhandling on city streets. a few years ago cleveland even passed an ordinance which prohibits panhandling within 20 feet of an atm, bus stop, or sidewalk cafĂ© and expanded its law on “aggressive solicitation” to prohibit panhandling within 10 feet of an entrance to a restaurant or parking lot.

to be honest, i really, really don't like to hear about these laws - they seem so heartless. that said, that's not to say i like to be subjected to "aggressive solicitation" - i don't; but, if someone is homeless or experiencing hard times, they should be free to ask for help - and if i can lend a hand, i am happy to do so - i was raised to believe than when we give we really receive.... just another of those paradoxes of life!

al jolson's version of brother can you spare a dime


Rubye Jack said...

I have mixed feelings on panhandlers because some can be too aggressive, but I much prefer giving my money to an individual and so it is nice they are able to be on the streets to ask for help.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

The meter is cool. I LIKE it!

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, those meters are a great idea!

Unfortunately, I think much of the money solicited by panhandlers goes toward alcohol, cigarettes and other addictions. It's actually far more beneficial to give money to organizations that can feed people or help them in constructive ways, even though a portion then goes toward organizational overhead. I think panhandling should be outlawed, period.

Betsy Brock said...

those stories of heroes on 9-11 are just so touching! There are hundreds of stories. I never tire of hearing them. So much and care for inspiring!