2/02/2009 05:46:00 PM


This past Saturday, I participated in the Don't Walk By Campaign (http://www.dontwalkby.org/), an outreach event for the homeless in Manhattan.

I was not too happy the night before I hear that temperatures were going to be in the 20s and that we would be out walking, combing the streets of Harlem for homeless in the bitter cold.

(As an aside: Why hello again Riverside Drive, I thought I left you and your bone-biting winter chill years ago when I graduated from Barnard, but I guess not.)

Covered in layers of clothing, ski jacket, hat and gloves (I really wished I had a ski mask though, it got so cold talking felt like I was doing it with Novocaine), we ventured out for about 3 hours in search for people who needed a warm place to stay for the night.

We did not come across many people as it was so cold that many of them were hiding out at Penn Station and other subway stops (and there were other teams who were assigned subway stations), but on the whole I was very glad that I participated in this event. I think just by being part of it helped me to realize the need in the city and how easily it is to not even notice the homeless once you start ignoring them. And I feel by doing this campaign that it has made it more easily for me to start seeing these people as people in the future.

But being faced with such poverty really is a 'make or break' moment. Do I believe that despite the limited things I can do that God is good? Do I believe God is bigger than poverty? Do I believe that good is going to win in the end?

These questions were on my mind at the end of the night as I stood in the crowded church. All of a sudden, I noticed a volunteer put her arms gently around a tired, dirty, and unshaven old man as he eagerly sifted through the volunteer lanyards to keep a couple for himself. She smiled and patiently waited for him to pick two he liked, even though they were all the same. I kept watching and took in her clean white coat, her put-together appearance, her blonde hair, her height, her white skin, her all-togetherness, and I watched as she without reservation interacted with the dirty smelly old dark-skinned homeless man. I felt all at once proud, shy, ashamed of myself, inspired, tired, and happy at the same time.

And I decided the answer was "Yes."


Unknown said...

i can't believe i used the same template as you.

Jon Tan said...

pickup "the irresistible revolution" and read a few pages, by shane claiborne, tell me what u think

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