There are some reality shows that test the characters of contestants by placing very obvious distractions in their surroundings to see how they will respond. Perhaps a wad of cash is placed on the sidewalk while a hidden camera captures the actions of passersby to see who, if anyone, will do the right thing. These shows are typically good for a few laughs- as 9 times out of 9, the subjects fail miserably.
What happened in Connecticut was no reality show. There were no laughs. In fact, after reading this article, some would be moved to tears, as this is not just a statement of a few folks in Connecticut. What happened in Connecticut could easily happen in any street anywhere in America.
The Golden Rule, as illustrated in the Bible “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” has morphed over the years in our eyes into something far from noble. Now, we are bred to look out for number one, to “do me” and anyone who doesn’t find success in their life- well its only because they aren’t doing what they need to do to get ahead and its not our problem. Right? This desensitzing happens gradually, i’m sure. One too many homeless people laying in the streets justifies our notion to divert our eyes and pick up our pace if we see someone sleeping on the ground. One too many pandhandlers and, come on, its to be expected for us to roll the window up and pretend that we don’t see the man standing outside our window. “i’m sure he’ll just take the money and buy drugs with it. I’m not supporting his addiction”. A long time ago, I’ve muttered this very expression. Until mental illness affected someone very close to me and I understood how easily it is for someone to literally have everything and end up sleeping in the dirt under a bridge. We are the self help generation, emphasis on self. We are learning, thanks to Dr. Oz and Oprah how to take very good care of ourselves, so much so, that we don’t have much room in our hearts left for others.
At least not when it counts.
Even the young woman who pointed this story out to me, after being absolutely horrifed for a good two seconds, was able to move on to the next tabloid fodder- this story easily forgetten. Its lessons moved to the back burner. Our society has become a society of distractions. You report to the office for an eight hour day, but there are plenty of distractions to keep your mind otherwise occupied. The horrors of the world are presented blaringly at the top of the newssites and the word is quickly passed amongst the web of cubicles. And then, when the next story comes up, the previous horrors are forgotten. And it goes on and on. Nothing is “real” anymore because everything is TOO damn real to process. When we are presented with real life that may be too heavy to deal with, we do what we are programmed to do, what the driver who pulled back into traffic did- allow ourselves to be horrified for one brief moment, and then we keep it moving. Because of course, whatever is happening before our very eyes is not our problem. Someone should do something for the love of God, but it won’t be me, I’m not getting involed…right?
Do unto others.
My heart aches not only for this man, but it aches for all of us. Because that could easily have been you or I lying on the streets with the world simply passing us by, watching us suffer, waiting for someone ELSE to help.
Do unto others.
When we think noone is watching, when noone else is there to make us feel noble for our actions, we should always be accountable. We are our brother’s keeper- like it or not, that is what we’ve been charged with. Eventually, we will need to accept that charge and step up to the plate. We have to. Because we can all complain about the world that we live in not being that great a place to be right now. But we can also do something about it. And reach out to one another. And make it better.
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.
It really IS that simple.